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^    !^ 

Entered  According  to  Act  of  Congress  in  the  year  1876, 

By  Thomas  Balch, 

In  the  office  ol  the  Librarian  of  Congress 



Preparations  for  departure  —  Couqxtsifion  of  the  Squadron 
Conveying  the  Auxiliary  Corpjs  —  Departure  from  Brest  — 
Voyage  —  Engagement  unth  an  English  Sqnadron  at  the 
Bermuda  Islands —  Considen/hlr  X'i(iid>cr  (f  Deaths  and  of 
Sick  Persons  on  Board —  Aimthi  r  M<<'tin<j[  iritlmnt  an  En- 
gagement, urith  a  Squadron  of  the  Einni'i/  inar  the  Chesa- 
peake Bay  —  Arrival  at  Eho'de  Islan d  and Lan ding, 1 


Landing  at  Rhode  Island —  Threatened  Attack  of  an  English 
Fleet — Establishment  of  tlai  Hospitals  —  J/.  Blaia-Iiard  is 
sent  to  Boston  —  Rhode  Island  is  pAared  in  a  State  of  De- 
fense —  Composition  of  the  Army —  First  Intercourse  of  the 
French  Generals  with  General  Washington — Residence  at 
Providence  —  Its  Environs  —  Markets  for  the  Army  — 
Winter  Quarters  of  the  French  Forces, 41 


Arrival  of  General  Washingtofi  at  Newport  —  Emharkation  of 
a  Body  of  Troops  on  board  of  the  Squadron  —  31.  Blanch- 
ard  is  vnth  it — Naval  Engagement  in  Chesapeake  Bay  — 
The  Army  begins  its  Alarch  to  form  a  Junction  with 
the  Americans  —  M.  Blanchard  precedes  it  —  He  passes 
through  Providence,  Waterman- Tavern,  Plainfeld,  Wind- 
ham, Bolton,  Hartford,  Farmington,  Baron-Tavern,  Break- 
neck, Neiotovm,  and Peekskill-Landing —  Sojourn  at  General 
Washington's     Camp   at    Peekskill  —  3Iarch   of   the    Two 

Armies  against  Kew  York —  Ckmips  of  Northcastle  and 
Ph'dUpsburg  —  Character  of  General  de  Rochambeau  —  Thd 
Squadron  of  31.  de  Grasse  is  announced —  The  tico  Ai'mies 
move  to  support  it, 92 


The  AlJicd  Armies  cross  the  Xorth  river  (wd  march  towards 
the  (lu'Hdpeal^e  Bay  —  M.  Bhinchard  rejoins  them  shortly 
afterwards —  He  passes  throia pi  ^Mnpp<nn/,  Somerset,  Prince- 
ton and  RedUne><  —  Stops  at  J^JiiJailiJpJi  !<i  and  goes  throiigh 
Chester,  ^VUmlngton,  Bra iidgicii,i\  Cln-i.^tinn  Bridge  and 
Head  of  Elk,  where  he  rejoins  fJic  Amrg  —  He  Emharks  with 
a  Detachment  to  Effect  a  Junction  wlfji  the  Trooj)s  brought 
by  M.  de  Grasse's  Squadron,  irliidi  liad arrived  In  the  bay,  129 

[In  the  original,  the  Table  of  Contents  is  continued  no  liirther.] 

Blanchard  reaches  M.  de  Grasse''s  Elect  and  2yroceeds  up  tJie 
James  River  to  join  the  Forces  under  LaFayette  at  Williams- 
burg —  Dllfculty  of  procuring  Stipplies,  esp)ecially  for  the 
Sick  —  T/ie  Trenches  are  opened  against  Yorktoimi  —  He  avy 
Firing  on  both  Sides —  Two  of  the  English  Redoubts  are 
captured,  one  by  the  French  and  the  other  by  the  Ameri- 
cans—  The  English  xur render —  The  French  Troopjs  go  into 
Winter  Quarters  In  Xorember  —  In  June,  1782,  they  march 
to  the  JVortha-ard  and  having  qmssed  through  Alexandria, 
Bcdtimore,  Philadelphict  and  Trenton,  they  reach  their  Old 
Camjnng  Ground  on  the  JSforth  River,  where  they  rest  for 
a  month  and  aftervmrds  march  to  Boston —  On  the  Way, 
Gen.  Rochambeau  is  Arrested  for  Trespass  —  In  December, 
\1S2,  Blanchard  proceeds  to  the  West  Indies  on  Board  of 
the  Triomphant ;  Visits  Porto  Cabello  and  Port  cm 
Prince  —  He  returns  to  France,  reaching  Brest  on  the  2d 
of  July,  1783,  and  proceeds  to  Echarbot,  where  he  meets  with 
his  Family,  after  an  Absence  of  more  than  three  Years,   140 

LaJej\   202 


During  a  sojourn  of  some  years  in  Europe  I  occupied 
myself  in  collecting  books,  engravings  or  other  materials 
for  a  contribution  to  American  and  French  history,  the 
subject  of  which  did  not  seem  to  me  to  have  been  tho- 
roughly studied  or  ftiirl}"  narrated.  It  was  intended  that 
the  work  should  be  a  careful  history  of  the  part  taken  by 
the  French  in  the  American  war  for  independence.  The 
first  part  of  the  work,  giving  a  history  of  the  expeditionary 
corps  under  Rochambeau,  from  its  embarkation  to  its  re- 
turn, with  a  full  narrative  of  the  military  operations  in 
which  it  was  engaged,  was  published  in  Paris  in  1872  '  Tlie 
second  part,  containing  notices  of  the  regiments  and  fleets, 
and  of  the  officers  who  served  in  our  cause,  whether  as  volun- 
teers, or  under  the  orders  of  the  French  government,  is 
now  ready  and  will  shortly  appear  in  that  city. 

Most  of  the  sources  from  which  I  derived  the  materials 
for  these  volumes  were  manuscripts,  several  of  which  are 

Paris,  A.  Sauton  ;  PhilacU'lpliia,  J.  B.   Jjippincoft. 


enumerated  in  an  opening  chapter  of  the  part  already  pub- 
ished.  ^  One  of  these  is  presented  in  the  following  pages, 
to  the  students  of  American  history.  As  we  learn  from 
Mr.  Blanchard's  own  preface,  it  is  truly  a  Journal  in 
which  were  noted  down  almost  daily  such  military,  social 
or  political  incidents  as  seemed  to  him  of  sufficient  import- 
ance to  be  recorded  for  the  instruction  of  his  children,  or 
for  his  own  reminiscences  in  later  life. 

This  manuscript  came  into  my  hands  through  the  kind- 
ness of  its  possessor,  Mr.  Maurice  La  Chesnais,  the  great 
grandson  of  its  author.  To  him  I  am  also  indebted  for  the 
information  which  enables  me  to  give  a  notice  of  Mr. 

Claude  Blanchard,  a  descendant  of  one  of  the  noble 
French  families,  was  born  at  Angers  the  16  May,  1742. 
In  1762  he  entered  the  ministry  of  war  "  under  the  orders 
of  one  of  his  relatives,"  Mr.  Dubois,  the  chief  of  the 
bureaux  in  the  War  Department,  who  also  held  other 
responsible  positions.  In  1768  Blanchard  was  named  war- 
commissary,  and  remained  in  Corsica  for  ten  years  with 
this  rank.  He  was  promoted  for  his  services,  and  in  1780 
was  sent  as  commissary-in-chief  with  Greneral  Rochambeau 

Les  FraiK^ais  en  Aneriqae,  pp.  6  -  17. 

to  America.  In  his  Journal  we  have  incidentally  an  account 
of  the  duties  of  his  office.  In  1788  he  was  sent  to  Arras, 
where  he  was  called  upon  to  act  as  commander  of  the 
IS'ational  Guard,  and  was  soon  sent  to  the  legislative 
assembly  as  its  representative  together  with  Carnot,  then 
wholly  obscure  though  since  so  well  known  for  the  part 
which  he  subsequently  played  in  the  unhappy  drama  of 
the  French  revolution.  In  the  assembly  Mr.  Blanchard 
exercised  his  functions  unobtrusively  but  discreetly  and  so 
far  gained  the  ftivorable  consideration  of  his  fellow-legis- 
lators, that  he  was  the  most  frequent  chairman  of  military 
committees,  making  the  reports  on  these  questions,  an 
honor  which  was  shared  between  him,  General  Lacuee  and 
Mathieu  Dumas.  He  was  deprived  of  his  position  as 
commissary  by  the  committee  of  public  safety,  but  later, 
after  their  fall,  he  became  chief  commissary  to  the  army 
of  the  Sambre  and  Meuse,  then  to  the  army  of  the  Interior, 
and  lastly  to  the  Hotel  des  Invalides,  where  he  died  in 
1802,  leaving  to  his  family  "  an  honorable  name,  and  the 
reputation  of  remarkable  virtues  and  talents."  Such 
at  least  was  the  language  in  which  General  Beranger  an- 
nounced his  death.  The  first  consul,  on  hearing  of  his 
decease,  expressed  his  regrets  in  w^arm  and  feeling  terms. ^ 

^Eevue  Militaire  Fraiu^aise.     1809.     p.  3'^ 

Many  matters  of  interest  will  be  found  in  the  following 
pages  concerning  the  organization  and  discipline  of  both 
branches  of  the  French  service.  The  bad  food,  the  filthy, 
black  water,  the  ravages  of  the  scurvy,  the  frequent  deaths, 
testify  to  the  character  of  the  one ;  the  insubordination  of 
the  oflicers,  the  duels,  often  fatal  ;  "  a  man-slayer,"  says 
Blanchard,  "  but  it  was  my  fate  to  meet  them  every- 
where ;"  do  not  present  an  attractive  picture  of  the  other. 
It  may  be  inferred  that  Custine's  violence  was  the  sole  act 
of  the  kind  which  occurred,  and  let  us  hope  that  insolent 
as  de  Marigny's  answer  was,  yet  that  it  was  not  by  his  hand 
de  Ternay  lost  his  life,  but  that  the  unhappy  commander 
died  of  fever,  as  Mr.  Blanchard  wasjnformed  he  did.^ 

Interesting  as  Mr.  Blanchard's  Journal  is,  it  gives  but 
few  military  details.  The  Journal  of  Count  de  Menon- 
ville  is,  on  the  other  hand,  full  and  minute  in  this  respect. 
So  is  the  Narrative  of  the  Baron  du  Bourg,  who  also  re- 
counts the  incidents  which  passed  in  the  "military  family  " 
of  de  Rochambeau.  Du  Petit  Thouars  tells  the  story  of  the 
campaigns  of  d'Estaing  and  de  Grasse.  Prince  de  Broglie's 
Relation  (of  which  I  have  the  translation  ready  for  the 

'  In  some  of  the  other  manuscripts  the  brighter  side  of  the  French  cliaracter 
is  agreeably  depicted. 


press),  gives  sprightly  and  entertaining  pictures  of  society 
in  Philadelphia,  jS'ewport  and  Boston.  ^  The  Comte  de 
Pontgibaud  describes  his  adventures  whilst  aid-de-carnp 
to  La  Fayette,  and  those  with  which  he  met  later  when  he 
and  others  came  to  America  to  escape  the  guillotine. 
This  collection  of  manuscripts,  together  with  extracts  of 
documents  which  I  found  in  the  archives  of  the  French  war 
and  navy  departments,  form  a  full  and  circumstantial  his- 
tory of  the  French  military  and  naval  operations  in 
America  whilst  they  were  acting  as  our  allies, 

I  have  added  a  few  notes  to  the  Journal,  and  at  first  pur- 
posed giving  a  historical  sketch  of  the  various  regiments 
and  biographical  notices  of  the  officers  taken  from  the  manu- 
script of  a  volume,  as  yet  unpablished,  which  I  have  pre- 
pared partly  from  the  French  archives,  partly  from  other 
and  diversified  sources  of  information.  But  it  was  feared 
that  such  a  mass  of  notes  would  make  the  book  rather 
heavy,  and  they  were  laid  aside.  Much  and  interesting 
information  concerning  the  regiments  can  be  found  in  the 
excellent  works  of  Gen.  Suzanne.^ 

'  I  would  be  much  pleased  to  obtain  a  copy  of  the  Ver'ses  in  French 
addressed  by  Mrs.  Tudor  to  Marie  Antoinette;  of  which  the  Prince  de  Brog- 
lie  makes  mention,  but  which  my  researches  have  thus  far  failed  to  discover 

^  Hlstoire  de  V  Ancieiine  Infanterie  Frangaise,  par  le  General  Suzanne, 
Paris,  1853,  8  vols,  with  atlas.     La  Cdvalerie  Frangaise,  2  vols.,  Paris,  1874 

The  choice  of  de  Rochambeau  as  the  commander  of  the 
auxiliary  armj-corps  was  due  to  the  wise  and  unselfish 
counsels  of  La  Fayette,  and  it  was  fortunate  for  the  cause 
of  the  Americans  that  so  skillful  a  stategist  was  selected. 
The  well  known  compliment  addressed  to  him  by  Napoleon 
was  fully  deserved,  and  the  part  which  he  took  in  the  cam- 
paign which  terminated  our  war  is  a  proof  of  its  justice. 
The  appointment  of  de  Ternay  was  probably  due  to 
similar  influences.  But  the  fidelity  with  which  that  con- 
scientious ofiicer  executed  his  orders  led  to  unhappy  results 
for  him.  Hu  sacrificed  everything  to  the  successful  convoy 
and  landing  of  the  troops.  Twice  during  the  voyage  he 
refused  to  deliver  battle  with  English  squadrons  when,  as 
subsequent  events  showed,  he  would  certainly  have  been 
victorious.  The  reproaches  of  his  captains  were  bitter. 
The  stings  of  his  own  wounded  pride  were  unbearable. 
They  produced  and  aggravated  a  fever  which  ended  his 
life.  But  the  kino;  recoo-nized  his  meritorious  self-abne- 
gation,  and  ordered  a  monument  to  be  erected  to  his  me- 
mory, bearing  an  inscri[)tion  fairly  and  honorably  earned 
by  him  who   slept  beneath   the  stone. ^   Republican  grati- 

'  The  original  inscription  in  Latin  and  a  translation  into  English,  the 
particulars  of  de  Ternay's  death,  the  funeral  cer>nionies,  and  the  facts  con- 
nected with  the  restoration  of  the  monument,  are  narrated  in  an   eloquent 


tude  allowed  it  to  fall  into  decay ;  but  fortunately,  in 
1873,  the  Marquis  de  Noailles,  then  French  envoy  at 
Washington,  visited  jSTewport,  and  with  the  permission  of 
his  government,  and  at  its  expense,  had  the  monument  re- 
constructed. On  the  motion  of  Senator  Anthony  a  bill 
was  passed  to  repay  these  expenses,  but  the  French  go- 
vernment declined  the  otFer.  The  sum  voted  was  there- 
upon converted  by  congress  into  a  fund  for  the  future 
preservation  of  the  monument,  and  thus,  though  tardily, 
has  been  secured  the  tribute  due  to  the  memory  of  one  of 
the  many  gallant  Frenchmen  who  sacrificed  their  lives  to 
secure  the  independence  of  America. 

Some  glimpses  also  of  American  society  appear  in  the 
Journal :  the  impression  produced  by  General  Wash- 
ington's appearance  and  manners.  General  Varnum's  con- 
versation in  Latin,  the  hospitality  of  Lady  Washington 
and  of  Mrs.  Greene,  the  beauty  of  Mrs.  Temple  and  other 
ladies,  Madeira  and  toasts,  the  schools,  the  churches,  the 
psalm-singing,  the  ragged  and  unshod  soldiers,  the  taste 
for  porcelain,  the  men  spending  whole  days  by  their  fire- 

speech  by  Senator  Anthony  on  introducing  a  bill,  Dec.  10,  1873,  to  pay  the 
expenses  of  reconstructing  the  monument  to  the  Chevalier  de  Ternay.  Me- 
morial Addresses  delivered  in  the  United  States  senate  by  Henry  B.  An- 
thony.    Providence,  1875. 

sides  and  wives  ;  these,  and  many  similar  incidents,  give  us 
quite  an  insight  into  the  American  life  of  that  day,  as  it 
presented  itself  to  the  eyes  of  a  French  gentleman,  rather 
ceremonious  in  his  manners  and  rigid  in  his  principles. 
He  more  than  once  mentions  the  beauty  of  the  females, 
more  often  their  innocence  and  simplicity.  Their  descend- 
ants have  reason  to  be  proud  of  them.  In  all  the  manuscripts 
which  I  have  in  hand,  written  by  these  European  soldiers 
of  divers  temperaments  and  characters,  a  profound,  almost 
reverential,  testimony  is  borne  to  the  graceful  manners, 
the  native  dignity,  the  unsullied  conduct,  the  moral  purity 
of  the  American  women. 

Mr.  Blanchard  prepared  a  preface  to  his  manuscript,  of 
which  a  translation,  due  likewise  to  the  pen  of  Mr.  Duane, 
who  has  so  admirably  '"  rendered  into  English"  the  Jour- 
nal itself,  is  herewith  given. 


I  was  employed  for  three  years,  as  chief  commissary, 
with  the  troops  which  M.  de  Rochambeau  led  to  the 
assistance  of  the  Americans.  During  all  that  war,  I  wrote 
down,  almost  everyday,  the  events  which  I  witnessed,  and 
those  which  concerned  myself  This  journal  is  not  in 
very  good  order,  and  now  that  I  have  some  leisure  (Mes- 
sidor  of  the  year  II  of  the  French  republic),  I  am  about 
to  make  a  fair  copy  of  it,  without  changing  anytliing  in 
the  style  and  form.  If  I  should  make  any  new  reflections, 
I  will  say  so,  though  this  information  is  quite  useless,  for 
positively  I  am  writing  only  for  myself  and  with  the  view 
of  turning  my  leisure  to  some  account. 

Before  conmiencing  this  journal,  I  ought  to  give  an  idea 
of  the  United  States  of  America  ;  besides,  I  find  this  notice 
in  my  journal,  and  I  wrote  it  at  the  time  of  the  departure 
of  the  expedition. 

The  country  comprised  in  the  United  States  of  America 
extends  along  the  eastern  coast  of  North  America,  from 
latitude  46°  to  30°,  that  is,  for  about  three  hundred  and 
ten  leagues  ;  but  it  has  not  an  equal  breadth,  for  in  many 

places  it  does  not  extend  more  than  sixt}^  leagues ;  and 
the  population  of  this  country  is  not  in  proportion  to  its 
size.  The  inhabitants  are  reckoned  to  be  about  three 
millions.  The  provinces,  beginning  with  those  to  the 
north,  are  ]^ew  Hampshire,  Massachusetts,  wherein  is 
Boston,  Connecticut,  Rhode  Island,  New  York,  Pennsyl- 
vania, wherein  is  Philadelphia,  the  seat  of  the  congress, 
Maryland,  Delaware,  Virginia,  ITorth  Carolina,  South 
Carolina,  and  Georgia,  wherein  is  Sav^annah.^ 

There  are  several  islands  forming  parts  of  some  of  these 
provinces,  such  as  L(mg  Island.  The  troops  of  the  English 
royalists  are  chiefly  stationed  in  Kew  York;  they  also 
have  man}^  places  in  Carolina,  some  troops  in  Georgia  and 
especially  at  Savannah.  [This  was  written  in  the  early 
part  of  1780.] 

To  the  northward  and  westward  of  the  thirteen  provinces 
is  Canada,  which  belonged  to  France,  and  which  she  ceded 
to  England  by  the  last  treaty  of  peace,  that  of  1762.  South 
of  the  thirteen  provinces  is  Florida,  also  ceded  to  England 
by  Spain,  which  France  indemnified  by  giving  to  her  her 
possessions  upon  the  Mississippi  and  the  Gulf  of  Mexico. 

Besides  these  possessions  of  the  English,  which  form  a 
bow  around  the  thirteen  states,  of  which  Clinton's  army 
in  New  Jersey  resembles  the  end  of  the  arrow,  there  are 
also  some  savage  nations    which    sometimes    attack    and 

'  The  writer  omits  New  Jersey. 

plunder  the  subjects  of  the  United  States.  Let  us  now  con- 
sider these  states.  Each  of  the  thirteen  provinces  has  its 
own  council,  its  own  militia,  and  its  own  hiws;  each  sends 
a  deputy  to  the  general  assembly,  otlierwise  known  as  the 
congress,  which  is  held  at  Phihxdelphia.  Over  this  congress, 
a  deputy  from  one  of  the  provinces  presides  in  turn. 

It  is  the  congress  that  directs  the  operations  of  the  nation 
which  makes  alliances,  receives  the  envoys  of  sovereigns, 
appoints  envoys  to  them,  corresponds  with  the  generals,  and 
makes  the  laws. 

It  seems  that  each  deputy  brings  to  the  congress  the 
vote  of  his  province,  and  that  the  decisions  of  the  congress 
are  then  sent  to  the  provinces. 

How  much  soever  the  subjects  of  this  newborn  republic 
may  be  attached  to  their  government,  they  cannot  conceal 
froiM  themselves  that  there  are  many  of  those  who  are 
called  tories  or  royalists,  who,  either  from  fear  or  atfec- 
tion,  have  an  attachment  for  the  government  of  England. 
A  very  large  part  of  the  money  is  of  paper,  and,  unfor- 
tunately, it  is  very  much  discredited. 

Such  are  the  inconveniences,  but  they  vanish  when  we 
remember  that,  notwithstanding  all  obstacles,  the  power 
of  England  has  been  baffled  in  America  by  the  love  of 
country  and  of  liberty,  which  has  hitherto  animated  the 
Anglo-Americans,  that  many  English  generals  have  been 
successively  defeated  there,  that  Burgoyne  has  shamefully 

passed  under  the  joke,  and  that  there,  more  than  anywhere 
else,  Voltaire's  verses  have  had  their  effect.  Injustice  has 
finally  produced  Independence. 

Philadelphia  was  taken  by  General  Howe,  who  was 
obliged  to  abandon  it,  although  supported  by  his  brother, 
Admiral  Howe. 

To  be  well  acquainted  with  this  country,  we  must  study 
the  maps,  endeavor  to  know  the  great  rivers,  the  position 
of  the  cities  upon  the  banks  of  these  rivers,  from  the  point 
to  which  they  are  navigable  and  as  far  as  vessels  can  ascend. 

It  would  be  well  to  write  down  all  these  observations 
and  to  begin  by  an  epitome  of  the  revolution ;  and  then 
to  proceed  to  other  observations  upon  the  general  admin- 
istration, that  of  each  province  in  particular,  the  laws,  the 
courts,  the  police,  the  military  forces,  the  productions,  the 
commerce,  etc.;  to  become  well  acquainted  with  the 
position  of  the  armies,  in  order  to  omit  nothing  that  can 
furnish  correct  ideas  respecting  the  country  and  this  inte- 
resting people. 

It  should  be  remembered  that  great  prudence  is  required 
in  America,  when  it  is  necessary  to  have  intercourse  with 
its  inhal)itants.  Especially,  should  we  avoid  exhibiting 
any  air  of  contempt;  the  people  are  poor  and  exhausted 
by  the  efforts  which  they  have  made  to  defend  their  liberty. 
The  French  come  to  assist  thera,  they  ought  not  to  display 
the  pride  of  protection. 



The  Count  De  Rochambeau,  lieutenant  general  of 
the  army,  having  been  appointed  to  command  a  body 
of  troops,  intended  to  be  embarked,  without  anyone's 
knowing  positively  whither  they  were  to  proceed, 
caused  me  to  be  employed  to  serve  with  these  troops 
as  commissary.  In  consequence,  I  proceeded  to  Brest 
on  the  20th  of  March,  1780. 

M.  de  Tarle,  directing  commissary,  discharging  the 
functions  of  intendant  to  this  body  of  troops,  did  not 
arrive  there  until  eight  or  ten  days  afterwards  ;  he 
brought  me  a  commission  as  chief  commissary.  Find- 
ing myself  alone  at  Brest,  I  worked  with  the  generals 
of  the  land  and  sea  forces  in  embarking  all  the  goods 

and  supplies  needed  for  the  troops  after  their  landing. 
The  navy,  being  unable  to  furnish  a  sufficient  number 
of  transports,  they  were  obliged  to  leave  in  France  the 
regiments  of  Neustrie  and  Anhalt,  which  were,  origi- 
nally, intended  to  be  embarked,  as  also  two  or  three 
hundred  men  of  Lauzun's  legion.  Only  five  thousand 
men  were  embarked,  namely,  the  regiments  of  Bour- 
bonnais,  Soissonnais,  Saintonge,  Eoyal  Deux-Ponts, 
about  five  hundred  artillerists  and  six  hundred  men  of 
Lauzun's  legion,  three  hundred  of  whom  were  intended 
to  form  a  troop  of  horse  ;  these  troops,  their  efifects, 
the  artillery  and  other  objects  necessary  for  an  army, 
were  embarked  in  from  twenty-five  to  thirty  transports 
or  store-ships ;  they  were  escorted  by  seven  ships  of 
war  and  two  frigates,  namely  : 

Shijjs.  Gnus.  Commanders. 

The   Duke   of  Burgundy,  The  Chevalier  de  Tern  ay, 

doubly     sheathed     with  chief  of  the  squadron, 

copper,^  80 
The      l^eptune,      doubly 

sheathed  with  copper,  74    Destouches, 

The  Conquerant,  74    La  Grandiere, 

The  Provence,  64    Lombard, 

'  Vessels  of  this  class  were  rare  at  that  day,  and  were  noted 
for  rapid  sailing.  The  admiral  hoisted  his  flag  on  board  of 
this  shi}),  and  (u'lieral  Kochanihcau  was  a  }iassenger,  with  some 
of  his  staff. 




The  Eveille,  doubly  she 


with  copper, 


de  Tilly, 

The  Jazon, 


de  Clochetterie, 

The  Ardent, 


The  Chevalier  de  Ma- 


The  Surveillante, 


The  Amazone, 

La  Perouse,' 

The  Guepe,  a  cutter. 

The  Chevalier  de  Mau- 

The  Fantasque,  an  old  vessel,  was  armed  en  flute 
and  was  intended  to  serve  as  a  hospital ;  the  treasure, 
the  heavy  artillery  and  many  passengers  were  em- 
barked upon  it. 

All  the  general  officers  lay  on  board  on  the  14th  of 
April.  I  was  there  also  and  embarked  upon  the  Con- 
querant.  On  the  first  night  I  lay  in  the  gun  room 
with  thirty  or  forty  persons.  The  next  day  they  pre- 
pared a  little  lodging  place  for  me  in  the  great  cabin ; 
that  is  where  they  eat.  I  lay  there  in  a  hammock, 
in  the  English  fashion,  over  a  cannon.  I  can  write 
there,  sitting  on  a  portmanteau,  and  I  have  light 
through  a  port-hole. 

The  convoy  started  and  anchored  at  Bertheaume, 
which  is  likewise  in  the  roadstead,  but  three  leagues 

The  celebrated  ua^■igator. 

from  Brest.  On  the  16th  we  were  unmoored  and 
ready  to  follow ;  but  the  wind  having  changed  to  the 
west,  we  could  not  raise  the  anchors :  these  west 
winds,  which  were  contrary  to  us,  also  lasted  for  some 
days.  I  availed  myself  of  it  to  go  frequently  on  shore 
to  finish  some  business  which  I  had  been  compelled  to 
leave  unfinished.  Altogether,  I  was  not  useless  at 
this  embarkation,  owing  to  my  activity  and  concilia- 
tory disposition.  At  last,  on  the  2d  of  May,  the  wind 
changed  to  the  north  and  we  started  immmediately. 
We  passed,  as  did  all  the  convoy,  between  the  Island 
of  the  Saints  and  the  Beak  of  Ratz ;  this  passage  is 
narrow  and  even  dangerous,  it  is  said,  but,  I  believe, 
not  so  for  good  sailors ;  we  went  through  without  ac- 
cident. This  route  took  us  away  from  the  entrance 
of  the  channel  and  from  every  undesirable  meeting;^ 
we  made  about  twenty  leagues  that  day.  We  would 
have  made  more  if  the  convoy  had  not  obliged  us  to 
bring  to  two  or  three  times  :  we  could  not  lose  sight 
of  them,  which  often  compelled  us  to  wait.  The  next 
day,  the  3d,  we  continued  our  course,  by  the  help  of 
the  same  north  wind,  but  it  was  light ;  we  had  almost 
a  dead  calm  at  noon  and  were  only  thirty-two  leagues 
from  Brest.     One  of  the  frio;ates  chased  two  small  ves- 

1  The  Euglisli  fleet  under  Graves  was  watching  for  them. 

sels.  The  ships  of  war  and  the  transports  proceeded 
in  order ;  on  the  4th,  we  met  a  Danish  ship  coming 
from  Naples  and  going  to  Hamburg ;  we  obliged  it  to 
follow  us  for  twenty-four  hours.  We  continued  to 
sail  in  this  manner  in  the  Gulf  of  Gascony  until  the 
9th,  on  which  day  the  wind  became  directly  contrary, 
it  came  from  the  west ;  we  might  then  be  thirty 
leagues  from  Cape  Ortegal.  At  four  o'clock  in  the 
afternoon  the  wind  became  violent,  it  was  a  real 
tempest ;  we  were  at  the  Cape  and  we  remained  there 
during  the  whole  of  the  10th.  It  is  a  very  painful 
situation  for  persons  who  suffer  from  sea-sickness.  I 
suffered  then,  and  greatly,  although  I  had  already 
sailed  upon  the  Mediterranean,  going  to  and  returning 
from  Corsica,  a  voyage  which  I  have  often  made.  I 
remained  in  bed  during  the  whole  of  the  10th  and  did 
not  recover  until  the  14th.  On  this  day  the  wind 
grew  calm  and  we  left  the  gulf  fifteen  leagues  to  the 
north  west  of  Cape  Finisterre.  One  of  our  ships,  the 
Provence,  lost  her  fore  top  owing  to  this  bad  weather  ; 
the  captain  wished  to  leave  the  squadron,  but  some 
carpenters  were  sent  on  board  of  her  and  the  damage 
was  quickly  repaired.  On  the  15th,  Mons.  de  Ternay 
sent  back  a  frigate  which  did  not  form  a  part  of  our 
squadron ;  she  was  to  carry  news  of  us  and  to  put  into 
port  in  Spain.     I  was  informed  of  it  late,  yet  I  hastily 

wrote  a  word  to  my  wife  and  to  Mons.  Coussard. 
This  day  and  the  next,  the  wind  was  north  and  pretty 
fresh ;  we  made  seven  knots  an  hour,  which  makes 
two  leagues  and  a  third ;  yet  we  had  only  one  or  two 
sails  hoisted,  on  account  of  the  convoy,  which  would 
not  have  been  able  to  follow  us,  and  among  which 
there  were  some  laggards.  Thus,  we  lay  by  every  day 
to  give  them  time  to  rally.  I  was  now  wonderfully 
well  and  I  profited  by  it  to  write  the  preceding  details. 
Hereafter,  I  have  written  every  day  as  will  be  seen. 

May  IdtJi.  The  winds  continue  northwardly,  and 
although  they  are  not  so  strong  as  on  the  16th  and 
17th  (on  those  days  we  made  forty-six  leagues^  in 
twenty-four  hours)  we  could  not  be  anything  else  than 
very  well  satisfied  with  the  progress  which  we  are 
making.  We  were  then  in  the  latitude  of  Cape  Vin- 
cent, at  the  distance  of  about  a  hundred  leagues. 
Whilst  the  weather  is  fine,  I  am  about  to  write  some 
details  respecting  the  vessel  in  which  lam  embarked. 
At  our  departure  it  drew  22  feet  of  water  at  the  bow, 
and  19  at  the  stern  ;  height  of  the  main  mast  104 
feet;  main  yard,  95  ;  foresail  mast  95  feet;  mizzen 
mast,  74  ;  bowsprit,  62.  Here  are  the  names  of  the 
naval  and  military  officers,  with  whom  I  am  embarked. 

Marine  leao:ues. 

La  Grandiere,  captain, 

Chirfontaine,      ditto,    second  in  command. 

Nupuy,  first  lieutenant. 

Blessing,     ditto  (a  Swedish  officer). 

Ensigns.  La  Jonquieres,  Kergu,  Maccartlij,  Duparc 
de  Bellegarde,  Buissy. 

Naval  Guards.  Li  vet,  Legritz,  Lourmel. 

Auxiliary  Officers.  Cordier,  Deshayes,  Marassin,  Gu- 
zence ;  we  left  one  of  them,  M.  Gautier,  sick  at  Brest. 

We  also  had  the  capta,in's  son,  but  he  was  not  yet  a 
marine  officer. 

Officers  of  Infantry,  a  detachment  upon  the  vessel, 
drawn  from  the  regiment  of  La  Sarre ;  Laubanie, 
captain  ;  La  Mothe,  lieutenant ;  Loyas,  sub-lieutenant. 

Passengers.  The  Baron  de  Viomenil,  major  general ; 
Count  de  Custine,  brigadier  and  colonel  of  the  regiment 
of  Saintonge. 

The  Grenadier  company  of  the  said  regiment,  of 
which  these  were  the  officers :  De  Vouves,  captain  ; 
De  James,  ditto,  in  the  second  class;  Champetier, 
lieutenant ;  Josselin,  lieutenant  in  the  second  class ; 
Denis,  sub-lieutenant;   Fanit.  second  sub-lieutenant. 

Menonville,  lieutenant  colonel,  attached  to  the  staff 
of  the  army. 

De  Chabannes  and  De  Pange,  aides  de  camp  of  M. 
de  Viomenil. 

Brizon,  a  cavalry  officer,  discharging  the  functions 
of  secretary  to  the  said  general. 

We  also  had  a  surgeon  and  a  chaplain,  making  part 
of  the  staff  of  the  vessel.  Including  the  domestics  and 
the  passengers,  there  are  960  persons  on  board,  with 
provisions  for  six  months.  Up  to  this  day,  the  19th, 
there  are  no  sick  on  board  except  several  sailors,  al- 
ready attacked  by  the  scurvy  at  the  time  of  our  de- 
parture from  Brest.  However,  we  have  lost  an  old 

On  the  20th,  we  had  the  same  wind ;  to-day  a  man 
died  on  board.  I  remark  that  we  ought  not  to  be 
surprised  that  the  winds  were  always  from  the  north 
or  north  east.  These  winds  are  constant  in  these 
parts  and  are  what  are  called  the  trade  winds.  Ad- 
vantage is  taken  of  them  to  go  to  St.  Domingo ; 
another  route  is  followed,  for  returning. 

On  the  21st,  the  same  wind,  and  pretty  strong ;  we 
made  25  leagues  in  24  hours.  At  noon,  on  the  said 
day,  we  being  in  35°  19'  of  latitude,  and  20°  19'  of 
longitude,  I  ascended  to  the  mizzen-top.  I  was  not 
lashed  there,  as  is  usually  done  ;  I  gave  six  livres  to 
the  top-men  ;  the  first  sailors  are  thus  called,  those 
who  commonly  remain  in  the  tops.  To  ascend  the 
tops  whilst  under  sail,  at  about  forty  years  of  age, 
when  one  is  not  accustomed  to  it,  is  not  bad. 

On  the  same  day  the  admiral  having  signaled  to  go 
on  board  to  receive  some  orders,  I  accompanied  the 
officer  who  was  sent.  M.  de  Tarl6,  our  commissary, 
who  had  embarked  thereon,  confirmed  me  in  the  be- 
lief that  we  were  going  to  New  England  and  that  we 
would  land  at  Rhode  Island.  I  had  always  thought 
that  such  was  our  destination,  inasmuch  as  we  had 
embarked  goods  suitable  for  the  savages,  and  which 
must  be  given  to  them  in  the  intercourse  that  we  might 
have  with  them.  They  dwell  on  the  frontiers,  as  is 
known.  I  also  learnt  that  a  vessel  which  they  had 
met  some  days  before  had  mentioned  that  a  Spanish 
fleet  had  set  out  on  the  20th  of  April  from  Cadiz,  but 
that  its  destination  was  unknown. 

On  the  22d,  the  same  wind,  north  and  north  east. 
We  were  on  the  o4tli  degree  of  latitude,  forty  leagues 
from  Madeira,  the  weather  was  pretty  cloudy  this  day 
and,  in  general,  it  has  always  been  so  since  we  left 
Cape  Finisterre ;  we  do  not  experience  great  heat. 
This  cloudy  weather  caused  me  violent  head-aches, 
especially  at  night,  but  I  experience  the  same  on  land. 
Otherwise,  my  health  was  good. 

My  servant,  Bourdais,  has  been  sick  for  some  days 
with  a  violent  cold  and  an  intermittent  fever. 

At  this  period,  our  real  destination  was  unknown 
on  board,  and  many  persons   supposed  that  we  were 


going  to  Jamaica.  They  believed  it  the  rather  be- 
cause, for  reasons  which  I  shall  explain  hereafter,  we 
bore  much  towards  the  south,  and  were  following 
the  route  which  is  taken  to  go  to  Jamaica  or  Saint 

The  25th,  Corpus  Christ!  day.  The  latitude,  35°. 
We  continued  to  make  from  25  to  30  leagues  a  day, 
the  convoy  preventing  our  doing  more  :  every  day  we 
lay  to. 

The  Me  of  France,  a  store-ship,  or,  at  least,  a  large 
transport  ship,  which  had  a  part  of  the  regiment  of 
Bourbonnais  on  board,  and  wherein  my  brother-in-law 
was  the  Chevalier  de  Coriolis,  a  lieutenant  in  this  regi- 
ment, had  taken  in  tow  the  Baron  cT Arras,  another 
transport  ship.  On  the  same  day,  a  vessel  armed  as 
a  man  of  war  and  laden  with  merchandise,  called  the 
Lutin,  which  had  followed  us  up  to  this  day,  left  us 
to  proceed  to  Cayenne. 

I  remark  that  on  the  24th  the  admiral  had  slightl3'' 
altered  his  course  and  borne  more  towards  the  west ; 
nevertheless  the  reasoners  considered  that  we  were 
still  going  too  far  towards  the  south. 

For  some  days  past  we  have  seen  in  the  wake  of 
the  vessel,  a  great  number  of  fishes  which  they  said 
were  bormites ;  the  crew  took  one  of  them  weighing 
four  pounds  ;   this  fish  tastes  like  the  tunny-fish,  but 


it  seemed  to  me  not  so  good  and  drier.  In  the  Medi- 
terranean they  are  called  polomine. 

Sunday  the  27th  at  noon  we  were  in  Latitude  29° 
55'  and  had  made  30  leagues  in  our  24  hours.  Our 
politicians  are  still  in  a  state  of  uncertainty,  seeing  us 
go  so  much  to  the  south,  and  there  are  some  who  pre- 
tend that  we  are  going  to  Porto  Rico  to  take  some 
Spaniards.  Notwithstanding  all  my  presumptions  for 
believing  that  we  were  goiug  to  North  America,  I 
myself  will  soon  no  longer  know  what  to  think  of  it. 

On  the  28th,  at  noon,  the  admiral  signaled  the  point 
of  the  compass  and  to  bear  towards  the  west ;  then 
all  doubts  were  dispelled,  and  we  saw  plainly  that  we 
were  going  to  New  England.  I  made  a  bet,  this  day, 
that  we  would  see  the  coast  on  the  26th  of  June,  and 
persisted  in  asserting  that  we  would  land  upon  Rhode 

We  were  in  the  latitude  of  28°  and  as  high  up  as 
the  Azores  at  the  moment  when  the  point  of  the  com- 
pass was  signaled. 

It  appears  that  this  route,  so  much  to  the  south, 
had  been  directed  by  the  court  in  order  to  avoid  the 
English  :  it  is  the  same  which  M.  d'Estaing  followed 
in  1778,  and  which  we  verified  by  the  diary  of  M.  de 
Bellegarde,  an  ensign  on  board  of  our  vessel,  who  had 
been  in  M.  d'Estaing's  squadron.     We  bore  towards 


the  west,  exactly  in  the  same  latitude  as  he.  Some 
sailors  pretend  that  the  northern  route  is  preferable  ; 
it  is  much  shorter ;  yet  Admiral  Byron,  who  followed 
it  when  he  was  running  after  M.  d'Estaing,  was  greatly 
delayed  therein  and  arrived  after  the  French  admiral. 
After  all,  this  route  enabled  us  to  avoid  the  English, 
whom  we  must  especially  avoid  on  account  of  the 

The  29th.  According  to  the  pilot's  report,  we  have 
made  36  leagues,  and  it  seems  that  we  continue  to  go 
along  well ;  for  the  wind  is  fresh  and  directly  from 
the  east,  which  gives  us  a  wind  in  our  stern,  as  we 
proceed  westwardly.  We  have  few  sick  persons  ;  my 
servant  is  better.  As  to  myself,  at  the  moment  when 
I  am  writing,  I  am  perfectly  well  and  without  any 
indisposition,  not  the  least  head  ache ;  I  cannot  say 
as  much  concerning  the  preceding  days,  having  been 
tormented  by  it  almost  continually.  Without  doubt 
these  head  aches  proceed  from  the  stomach,  owing  to 
the  bad  food  on  board. ^     Tea  has  been  very  beneficial 

1  Let  me  be  pardoned  for  recurring  so  often  to  my  health  ;  it 
proves  that  when  one  is  on  hoard  ship,  he  has  little  diversion 
and  concerns  himself  much  about  himself.  I  ought  also  to  say 
that  I  had  scarcely  recovered  from  illness  when  I  went  to  sea. 
This  sickness,  which  I  had  neglected,  I  had  contracted  at  Mor- 
tain,  whither  I  was  called,  during  the  autumn  of  1779,  to  put  in 
order  the  hospitals  of  that  city,  crowded  with  2000  patients, 


to  me  in  these  head  aches,  especially  if  a  little  citron 
was  put  therein.  I  write  these  details  for  my  children 
and  friends,  who  may  be  obliged  to  go  to  sea.  At  sea, 
if  one  suffers,  he  is  disgusted,  disheartened  and  curses 
the  sea,  but  these  moments  pass  away  and  one  loves 
it.  I  perceived  that  I  should  become  accustomed  to 
it  and  that  this  service  would  even  have  been  attract- 
ive to  me.  Whilst  I  am  writing,  I  feel  happy  ;  it  is 
true  that  we  have  reason  to  be  satisfied  with  all  the 
officers,  excepting  the  captain,  who  is  ill-humored,  de- 
vout, illiberal,  selfish,  communing  every  Sunday, 
without  being  more  humane  towards  the  sailors  and 
the  sick,  in  short  announcing  a  Molinist  religion. 
On  the  31st,-  we  discovered  at  noon  that  we  had 

proceeding  from  the  sqiuidrou  of  M.  \"oirilliers,  whieli  hud  re- 
turned to  Brest  a  short  time  before.  These  patients,  attacked 
by  dysentery  and  putrid  fever  were  massed  in  live  hosi)itals, 
hastily  established  ;  T  there  lost  a  large  part  of  the  nurses  and 
many  surgeons  and  apothecaries.  The  only  two  physicians  who 
were  charged  with  the  care  of  these  live  hospitals,  contracted 
serious  diseases  there,  of  which  they  nearly  died.  As  I  did  not 
spare  myself  on  this  occasion,  I  suffered  from  this  pestilence  for 
a  long  time,  the  rather  as  I  took  no  preventive.  I  niay  say  that 
the  labors  which  I  then  underwent  were  not  ignored,  and  that 
I  procured  myself  some  honor.  [An  interesting  note  and  a  sad 
picture  of  the  old  French  military  administration,  and  which 
does  not  seem  to  have  improved  in  these  latter  days.] 

1 1  do  not  find  any  remark  upon  the  30th,  and  1  suspect  that 
some  mistake  as  to  the  date  has  crept  into  my  journal  since  the 
26th  and  27th  when  I  was  sick  ;  there  is  also  a  date  erased. 


made  41  leagues  ;  I  observe  that  it  is  always  at  noon 
that  the  pilot  marks  the  point  where  we  are  upon  the 
chart,  and  that  he  gives  the  longitude  and  the  latitude 
to  the  captain  of  the  vessel,  since  it  is  at  noon  that  he 
ascertains  the  last  and  takes  the  altitude  ;  it  is  at 
noon  also  that  a  report  is  made  of  the  progress  that 
has  been  made  since  noon  on  the  day  before  :  there- 
fore when  I  say  that  we  have  gone  20  or  30  leagues  it 
is  always  since  noon  on  the  preceding  day. 

June.  This  day,  the  first  of  June,  we  saw  much  sea- 
weed [goemon]  ;  we  began  to  see  it  at  the  30th  degree 
of  latitude,  and  this  continues  as  far  as  the  tropics. 
The  grape  of  the  tropics  is  also  called  goemon. 

The  goemon  is  a  grass  which  is  detached  from  the 
submarine  rocks  and  from  the  Canary  islands ;  it  has 
small  grains  shaped  like  grapes ;  the  sea  is  entirely 
covered  with  it. 

On  the  2d,  we  sent  on  board  the  admiral's  ship : 
there  it  was  openly  said  that  we  were  about  to  land  at 
Newport  in  the  island  of  Rhode  Island.  At  noon,  I 
desired  to  take  the  altitude  myself.  I  was  struck  by 
seeing  the  sun  directly  over  our  heads  ;  I  had  not  paid 
attention  to  it  up  to  that  moment. 

On  the  3d,  the  wind  being  light,  we  made  only  18 
leagues.  This  day,  the  captains  of  the  ships  of  the 
line  were  ordered  to  go  on  board  of  the  admiral's  ship, 


who  probably  gave  them  some  instructions  concerning 
making  land. 

On  the  4th,  little  wind  still,  we  made  only  17 
leagues.  A  negro  sailor  died  on  boaid  of  our  ship. 
We  then  had  about  sixty  sick  persons  in  the  Conquer- 
ant.  The  other  vessels  had  much  fewer,  but  it  must 
be  observed  that  the  Conquerant  had  been  fitted  out  for 
a  long  time,  that  it  had  left  Brest  on  the  22d  of  Feb- 
ruary with  M.  de  Guichen,  but  that  having  sustained 
damage  it  was  compelled  to  return  :  the  whole  crew 
was  composed  of  men,  both  sailors  and  soldiers,  who 
had  been  at  sea  for  a  long  time.  The  other  vessels 
had  just  been  fitted  out  at  the  time  of  our  departure,  and 
the  crews  were  men  who,  for  the  most  part,  had  ar- 
rived from  their  own  homes.  We  also  had  on  board 
about  150  persons  more  than  the  usual  number  on  a 
vessel  of  our  size,  which  occasioned  crowding  and  was 
injurious  to  the  wholesomeness  of  the  air.  Besides  it 
seems  to  me  that  little  attention  was  paid  to  the  health 
of  the  crew  and  that  the  sick  were  neglected. 

On  the  5th,  we  made  only  5  leagues;  we  took  a 
gold  fish,  a  fish  which  has  beautiful  colors  and  is 
very  good  to  eat. 

On  the  6th,  we  chased  five  vessels  in  the  morning, 
but  we  could  not  discover  what  they  were  ;  as  they 
would  have  drawn  us  too  much  out  of  our  course  if  we 


had  continued  to  follow  them  much  longer,  the  admi- 
ral caused  the  chase  to  cease.  It  seems  to  me  that  it 
would,  nevertheless,  have  been  interesting  to  ascertain 
what  they  were  in  order  to  obtain  news ;  besides,  they 
might  have  been  English  vessels  coming  from  India, 
and  that  would  have  been  a  good  prize  :  that  was  their 
course  for  returning  to  Europe,  for  they  usually  follow 
that  latitude  to  reach  the  Azores.  We  were  then  in 
the  latitude  of  27°  31'  and  the  longitude  of  43°  39'. 
The  admiral  signaled  a  change  of  course  or  point  of 
the  compass  and  we  ran  west  a  quarter  north  west 
and,  consequently,  we  were  to  proceed  no  farther  south. 

On  the  7th,  the  heat  was  powerful,  the  sky  clear 
and  cloudless. 

On  the  8th,  the  admiral  signaled  a  change  of  the 
point  of  the  compass  and  bore  due  west. 

On  the  9th,  the  wind  is  cool.  We  lost  three  men, 
two  of  whom  were  soldiers  ;  one  died  the  evening  be- 
fore ;  eight  in  all  since  our  departure. 

On  the  11th,  M.  de  Viomenil  and  M.  de  Custine  re- 
ceived the  order  of  battle,  or  instructions  respecting 
our  landing  and  some  other  details  concerning  our  ex- 

On  the  12th,  at  6  o'clock  in  the  morning,  our  frigates 
which  had  been  ordered  the  night  before  to  chase  a 
little  vessel,   brought  it  with   them ;  it  was   English 


and  laden  with  codfish  ;  it  was  coming  from  Halifax 
and  was  bound  to  St.  Eustacia.  It  told  us  that  a  ves- 
sel of  Arbuthnot's  squadron,  called  the  Defiance,  had 
been  lost  on  the  coast  of  New  England,  that  the  Robust, 
a  ship  of  war  of  the  same  squadron,  had  also  been 
greatly  damaged  and  compelled  to  return  to  Halifax  ; 
it  also  informed  us  that  M.  de  Guichen  arrived  at 
Martinico  on  the  29th  of  March,  and  that  Rodney  had 
not  yet  appeared  there  on  the  6th  of  April.  We  also 
learnt  that  the  English  were  still  busy  in  Carolina,  but 
that  Charleston  was  not  taken.  The  admiral  caused 
the  codfish  and  the  herrings  with  which  this  little 
vessel  was  laden  to  be  divided  among  the  ships  of 
war  of  the  squadron,  and,  after  having  pillaged  and 
unrigged  it,  we  abandoned  it.  This  day  we  made  30 

On  the  13th,  the  admiral  slightly  changed  his  course 
and  bore  more  towards  the  west.  Without  doubt,  he 
was  unwilling  to  go  near  the  Bermudas,  where  gales 
of  wind  are  always  encountered,  and  where  we  might 
also  meet  with  some  English  ships,  which  it  was  essen- 
tial to  avoid,  having  a  convoy  and  assistance  so  im- 
portant to  convey  to  the  Americans. 

The  14th,  remarkably  cool ;  the  admiral  caused  the 
squadron  to  advance,  for  some  time,  in  order  of  battle, 
that  is  to  say,  in  a  single  line  ;  we  usually  proceeded 


in  two,  and  even  in  three,  i\\e  fiutes  forming  one  line. 
The  remainder  of  the  convoy  kept  to  the  windward  of 
the  squadron.  To-day  I  saw  a  Hying-fish.  They 
had  been  seen  for  some  days  past ;  these  fishes  are 
one  or  two  feet  long;  they  rather  leap  than  fly,  and  it 
is  their  fins  that  support  them.  That  which  I  saw 
kept  himself  between  wind  and  water ;  he  passed  over 
about  five  or  six  fathoms.  A  soldier  of  the  regiment 
of  La  Sarre  died  on  board. 

On  the  16th,  we  calculated  that  we  were  only  two 
hundred  leagues  from  St.  Domingo,  where  we  would 
have  been  already  if  that  had  been  our  destination. 
The  heat  was  powerful,  we  were  4°  from  the  tropic  and 
were  approaching  the  moment  when  the  sun  turns 
(June  21st)  ;  consequently,  it  was  almost  perpendicu- 
lar over  our  heads.  So  far,  our  voyage  is  agreeable, 
hardly  any  heavy  sea,  a  good  wind,  no  accident  and 
few  annoyances.  Our  ship  was  the  only  one  suffering 
from  sickness.     To-day  another  man  died. 

On  the  18th,  we  found  ourselves  in  the  longitude  of 
the  Bermudas  ;  it  is  this  high  up  that  the  trade  winds 
cease  and  that  variable  winds  are  found.  At  9  o'clock 
a  vessel  was  signaled,  at  10  o'clock  it  was  joined  by 
our  frigates,  which  it  waited  for,  supposing  that  it  was 
an  English  squadron  that  it  perceived.  This  vessel, 
which  was  an  English  brig,  had  fourteen  four-pounders 


and  some  s\yivels  ;  it  had  left  Charleston  at  the  be- 
ginning of  the  month  and  was  going  to  Barbadoes  to 
transport  five  officers  who  were  rejoining  their  regi- 
ments, and  to  carry  some  dispatches  of  the  British 
minister  ;  it  had  only  a  crew  of  thirty  men  ;  they  gave 
us  four  sailors  on  board  of  the  Conquerant.  We  learnt 
from  this  vessel  that  the  city  of  Charleston  had  sur- 
rendered to  the  English  on  the  4th  of  May,  and  that 
the  siege  began  on  the  1st  of  April.  These  news 
made  us  desire  more  than  ever  to  reach  Newport  or 
some  other  point  which  the  Americans  should  point 
out  to  us.  They  also  told  us  of  an  engagement  be- 
tween Rodney  and  M.  de  Guichen,  but  in  a  confused 
manner,  and  without  telling  us  of  the  result. 

On  the  19th,  we  sent  ten  sick  persons  on  board  of 
the  Fantasque ;  we  had  already  sent  as  many  to  it 
some  days  before.  This  vessel  was  intended  to  serve 
as  a  hospital,  although  having  several  passengers  on 

On  the  20th,  we  had  made  34  leagues.  At  noon 
the  admiral  signaled  to  steer  to  the  north-west ;  we 
were  then  in  30°  24' of  latitude  and  69°  20' of  longitude. 
At  half  after  one  sails  were  signaled,  which  we  caused 
to  be  reconnoitered  by  the  Neptune  and  the  EveiUe,  our 
best  sailers.  These  sails  bore  down  upon  us ;  we  did 
not  delay  in   approaching  them.     At  4   o'clock  the 


Neptune  signaled  that  it  was  a  hostile  squadron  ;  it 
was  then  very  near  one  of  the  vessels  of  this  squadron 
and  we  supposed  that  it  was  about  to  commence  the 
engagement,  which  we  would  have  supported,  seeing 
that  we  followed  the  Neptune  pretty  closely.  Every 
one  on  board  of  us  was  at  his  post,  and  the  beating  to 
quarters  had  been  ordered  and  executed.  Then  the 
admiral  gave  the  signal  for  forming  in  line  of  battle, 
and  we  ran  upon  the  same  tack  as  the  enemy,  who 
were  then  bearing  to  the  south-west.  It  required 
some  time  to  form  in  line,  because  the  vessels  had 
chased  without  regard  to  order,  and  each  of  them  had 
to  regain  its  post.  It  was  said  that  the  admiral  ought 
to  have  formed  the  line  without  regard  to  rank.  How- 
ever that  may  be,  we  then  perceived  very  distinctly 
five  ships  of  war  and  a  frigate  :  three  seemed  to  us  to 
be  of  74  guns.  At  five  o'clock  the  chaplain  gave  us 
the  benediction  ;  I  visited  all  the  posts  with  the  Baron 
Viomenil ;  everywhere  we  witnessed  the  greatest 
gaiety  and  the  best  behavior.  The  English  were  to 
the  windward,  and  our  convoy,  well  collected,  were  to 
the  leeward  of  us.  One  of  the  enemy's  vessels  seemed 
to  wish  to  throw  itself  alongside  of  our  convoy ;  it 
was  the  first  of  the  English  line ;  we  supposed  it  to 
be  cut  oft'  by  the  Neptune,  which  was  also  at  the  head 
of  our  line.     But  the  admiral,  who  wished  to  preserve 


his  line  and  cover  his  convoy,  ordered  it  to  slacken 
sail,  which  was  done.  The  Englishman  then  tried  to 
rejoin  his  squadron.  It  was  six  o'clock  in  the  evening, 
we  then  displayed  the  French  flag,  the  English  hoisted 
that  of  their  nation  ;  and  immediately  the  Neptune 
and  the  Enghsh  ship,  which  was  in  advance  of  its  Hne, 
began  to  cannonade  each  other,  and  in  succession  all 
our  ships  fired.  The  English  vessel,  against  which 
the  Neptune  had  fought,  manoeuvred  very  well  and  re- 
turned to  take  the  tail  of  its  line  ;  it  was  exposed  to 
all  the  fire  of  ours,  whilst  replying.  We  fought  a 
little  too  far  from  each  other.  The  English,  who  were 
to  the  windward,  might  have  come  nearer,  but  they 
did  not  seem  to  care  about  it.  Nevertheless  we  saw 
very  distinctly  some  of  our  shot  reach  the  English 
vessels ;  our  ships  for  their  part  also  received  some. 
As  to  our  ship,  it  did  not  appear  to  have  received  a 
single  ball;  the  English  fired  too  high.,  for  we  heard 
the  balls  passing  over  our  heads.  This  cannonade 
lasted  about  a  quarter  of  an  hour.  Daring  this  time, 
I  was  before  the  mast  with  M.  de  Viomenil ;  we  also 
proceeded  back  of  the  mast  near  the  captain,  and  once 
or  twice  I  ascended  the  quarter  deck  bunk  to  under- 
stand the  manoeuvres  better.  The  admiral,  after  this 
first  cannonade,  gave  the  signal  to  take  by  counter- 
marching, desiring  by  that  means  to  get  near  the 
enemy  :  as  we  formed  the  rear  guard  and  as  we  were 


the  last  to  perform  this  movement,  we  greatly  enjoyed 
the  sight  of  this  manoeuvre,  which  is  very  handsome 
and  which  was  very  well  executed.  The  English 
made  no  move  in  opposition  to  it  and  then  showed  that 
they  were  unwilling  to  prolong  this  engagement ;  it 
was  seven  o'clock  in  the  evening.  Our  ships  again 
fired  some  broadsides,  especially  at  the  vessel  of  the 
rear  guard,  which  had  already  been  exposed  to  the 
whole  fire  of  our  line.  It  replied  on  its  part  and  did 
not  cease  firing.  As  to  us,  it  appeared  to  us  too  dis- 
tant, and  we  despised  firing  upon  it  to  no  purpose. 
The  sun  was  about  to  set  and  the  English  withdrew. 
It  was  too  late  to  follow  them ;  besides  it  would  have 
been  useless,  they  seemed  to  be  good  sailers  and  we 
had  bad  sailers.  Besides,  the  convoy,  of  which  it 
would  have  been  imprudent  to  lose  sight,  would  ne- 
cessarily have  delayed  us.  During  the  whole  time  the 
wind  had  been  southwardly,  it  was  a  little  cool,  the 
sea  was  fine  and  everything  was  favorable  for  joining 
battle  or  being  a  spectator  of  it.  This  was  not  such 
as  it  might  be  ;  but  it  might  become  murderous.  We 
had  the  beginning  of  it.  It  is  then  that  one  may 
judge  of  the  behavior  of  a  person  in  it.  They  were 
satisfied  with  mine,  and  I  was  satisfied  with  it 
myself.  In  general  every  one  conducted  himself 
well,  and  the   captain  set  us   the  example   of  it.     I 


have  not  given  a  handsome  portrait  of  him  ;  but  we 
pardon  his  defects  on  a  day  of  battle,  then  he  exhi- 
bited much  activity  and  great  composure.  I  am 
writing  to-day,  the  21st  of  June,  the  details  of  this 
encounter  according  to  the  impression  made  upon  me, 
and  such  as  I  have  beheld  it ;  and  I  believe  that  M.  de 
Ternay  could  not  have  behaved  otherwise  than  he  did, 
as  well  on  account  of  the  convoy  as  with  respect  to 
the  little  daylight  which  was  left  when  the  English 
retired.  Notwithstanding,  from  that  very  day  I  have 
heard  him  blamed  by  some  naval  officers  and  other 
persons,  sufficiently  enlightened  :  first,  for  having 
formed  his  line  according  to  the  order  of  battle  ;  se- 
condly, for  having  signaled  the  Neptune  to  slacken 
sail  at  the  moment  when  it  was  about  to  cut  off  the 
English  ship  with  which  it  was  engaged,  and  which 
would  have  been  undoubtedly  captured,  as  they  al- 
lege ;  or  else  the  English  would  have  desired  to  assist 
it,  which  would  have  brought  on  the  engagement, 
which  must  have  been  to  our  advantage,  since  we  had 
two  more  vessels,  were  better  armed  and  had  captains 
of  ships  truly  distinguished  for  their  courage,  such  as  M. 
de  la  Clochetterie  and  M.  de  Marigny.  I  shall  not 
undertake  to  decide  this  question  ;  moreover,  I  shall 
return  to  this  cannonade  and  shall  insert  in  my  journal 
the  details  which  will  be  drawn  up  respecting  it  by  some 


man  in  the  service,  contenting  myself  in  these  first 
moments  with  mentioning  in  my  own  way  what  I 
have  seen  and  what  I  think.  The  English  having 
disappeared,  we  proceeded  in  a  bow  and  quarter  line, 
steering  to  the  north-west.  On  the  evening  of  the  en- 
gagement, whilst  conversing  with  the  Ardent,  by  means 
of  a  speaking-trumpet  we  learnt  that  the  Neptune  had 
had  two  men  killed  and  five  or  six  wounded. 

On  the  21st,  at  noon,  we  found  that  we  had  made 
21  leagues,  notwithstanding  the  time  which  we  had 
lost  owing  to  this  encounter;  we  saw  the  English  no 
more,  but  we  captured  a  small  vessel  belonging  to  that 
nation,  laden  with  sailors  going  from  Savannah  to 
Jamaica.  That  day  we  lost  two  men,  a  soldier  and  a 
negro  servant.  All  the  sick  whom  we  had  shut  up 
during  the  fight  in  the  holds,  had  suffered  greatly, 
many  had  come  up  on  the  deck  and  had  taken  their 
posts.  This  soldier  who  died  had  asked  the  favor  of 
being  allowed  to  serve.  This  day  the  admiral  caused 
the  captain  to  come  on  board  of  his  vessel ;  we  learnt 
that  the  Duhe  of  Burgundy  had  had  two  men  killed 
and  five  or  six  wounded,  and  in  the  whole  squadron 
they  summed  up  21  men  killed  or  wounded.  It  was 
suspected  on  board  of  the  Duke  of  Bur<jundy  that  it 
was  Admiral  Arbuthnot  whom  we  had  met,  and  that 
he  was  proceeding  to  Jamaica;  that   was   also   our 


opinion,  which  agreed  with  that  of  the  EngUsh  offi- 
cers who  were  prisoners  in  our  ships. 

On  the  22d,  22  leagues.  In  the  evening  we  had  a 
dead  cahn.  I  took  advantage  of  it  to  go  on  board  of 
the  Ardent,  to  see  my  comrade,  M.  de  Villemanzy,  who 
was  on  board  of  it,  and  M.  Demars,  the  manager  of 
the  hospitals.  It  seemed  to  me  that  they  greatly  re- 
gretted there  that  we  had  not  come  nearer  to  the 
enemy.  M.  de  Marigny,  without  explaining  himself 
too  much,  seemed  to  regret  it  more  than  any  one  else ; 
an  answer  of  his  to  the  admiral  was  quoted,  which 
deserves  to  be  related  ;  the  latter  asked  him  with 
what  English  admiral  he  believed  that  they  had  been 
engaged.  M.  de  Marigny  replied  :  "  We  have  lost  the 
opportunity  of  finding  it  out."  To-day,  several  sails 
were  perceived  from  the  tops  of  the  masts;  six  of 
them  were  counted,  which  were  presumed  to  be  the 
ships  which  we  had  fought. 

On  the  23d,  in  the  morning,  the  calm  ended  :  the 
wind  was  from  the  west  and  we  may  have  made  14 
leagues  by  noon.  We  went  on  a  direct  course  towards 
Rhode  Island,  from  which  we  were  distant  160  leagues. 
The  nearest  land  might  be  distant  110  leagues.  Some 
vessels  were  perceived  which  were  chased  to  no  pur- 
pose. The  Qaepe  entered  into  this  pursuit  so  far  that 


we  lost  sight  of  her ;  she  did  not  rejoin  the  squadron 
until  very  late  at  night. 

On  the  24th,  15  leagues;  in  the  evening,  we  again 
had  almost  a  dead  calm.  M.  de  Viomenil's  brother,  who 
was  on  board  of  the  Neptune,  came  aboard  of  our  ship. 
According  to  what  he  said  to  us,  it  did  not  appear  that 
they  were  as  much  dissatisfied  aboard  of  the  Neptune 
with  M.  de  Ternay's  conduct  as  upon  the  other  ships. 
They  only  thought  on  board  of  this  ship  that  he  might, 
without  inconvenience,  have  permitted  it  to  chase 
the  enemy's  ship  which  it  was  pursuing,  and  which  it 
had  attacked,  as  I  have  related ;  it  was  a  ship  of  64 
guns.  They  had  lost  only  one  man  by  sickness  on 
board  of  the  Neptune,  and  they  had  not  the  scurvy 
there  ;  we  have  already  seen  that  we  were  not  in  so 
good  a  condition,  very  far  from  it. 

Note  added,  on  copying  this  journal : 

If  I  have  spoken  of  this  combat  at  great  length,  it 
is  because  it  interests  me  much  and  also  because  we 
are  incessantly  speaking  of  it  among  ourselves.  On  a 
vessel,  the  least  event  occupies  the  mind,  and  espe- 
cially those  of  this  sort.  To-day  when  I  am  cool,  I 
judge  without  passion  and  with  more  experience  :  I 
will  therefore  confess  that  I  have  defended  M.  de 
Ternay  too  much.  It  is  certain  that  his  chief  object 
being  to  carry  assistance  to  the  Americans,  he  ought 


not  to  risk  an  engagement  so  lightly,  nor  rashly  to 
expose  the  generals  of  the  land  forces  and  the  troops 
which  are  on  board  of  the  ships  of  war ;  but  on  this 
occasion  he  had  so  decided  a  superiority  that  he  was 
really  wrong  in  causing  the  Neptune  to  slacken  sail  or 
in  forming  his  line  in  such  a  way  as  caused  him  to 
lose  much  time. 

Besides,  we  have  since  learnt  that  the  five  vessels 
were  commanded  by  Commodore  Cornwallis,  who  was 
returning  to  Europe  with  them  after  having  escorted 
a  convoy,  which  was  returning  to  Europe,  as  high  up 
as  the  Bermudas.  The  account  that  he  has  given  of 
this  engagement  is  not  entirely  correct.  It  is  to  be 
found  in  the  Gazette  of  Utrecht  of  October  27th,  1780, 
and  the  Courier  of  Eur  ope  o^  the  loth  of  the  same  month. 
He  states  that  only  three  men  were  killed  and  five 
wounded  in  his  squadron,  which  seems  impossible,  cne 
of  his  ships  having  been  twice  exposed  to  the  fire  of 
our  whole  squadron.  Our  ships,  which  received  the 
fire  of  only  a  single  English  vessel,  had  many  more. 

Here  is  the  list  of  this  English  squadron  over  which 
we  had  a  great  superiority  of  force. 

The  Bristol,  50  guns  ;  The  Sultan,  74  ;  The  Lion, 
61 ;  on  board  of  which  was  the  commodore.  The 
Hector,  74,  and  the  Ruby,  64.  (This  is  the  one  that 
was  engaged).     He  also  had  one  frigate. 


The  25th,  15  leagues. 

The  26th,  16  leagues.  A  soldier  of  the  regiment  of 
La  Sarre,  who  had  the  scurvy,  died  on  board. 

The  27th,  27  leagues.  In  the  evening,  the  wind 
became  violent  and  changeable ;  there  was  thunder 
and  the  admiral  made  us  lie  to  ;  we  remained  there 
all  night.     The  sea  was  rough.     We  lost  a  sailor. 

On  the  28th,  at  10  o'clock,  the  sea  became  calmer. 
At  noon,  we  had  made  13  leagues.  We  were  then  in 
latitude  35°  45'  and  in  longitude  74°  24'.  The  general 
signaled  a  course  to  the  west-north-west,  which  led  us 
towards  Chesapeake  bay.  We  again  lost  a  man.  On 
the  30th,  another. 

On  the  first  of  July  the  wind  was  from  the  north- 
east. According  to  the  pilot's  observations,  we  were 
in  the  latitude  of  Chesapeake  bay  and  we  had  run 
less  to  the  north  than  we  had  supposed,  which  proves 
that  there  are  currents.  We  saw  plainly  that  we  had 
been  deceived  in  the  calculation  of  our  longitudes,  for, 
according  to  those  which  the  pilot  had  given  us,  we 
ought  to  be  in  Chesapeake  bay,  and  it  seems  that  we 
were  still  far  from  it ;  for  not  only  were  we  unable  to 
see  the  land,  but  on  sounding  we  found  no  bottom. 
Another  soldier  who  had  the  scurvy  died. 

On  the  2d  of  July,  15  leagues  ;  we  still  bore  towards 
Chesapeake  bay.     In  the  evening  we  were  becalmed. 


On  the  3d,  the  wind  rose.  They  again  sounded 
without  finding  bottom  ;  we  were  all  very  impatient 
to  see  land  ;  our  voyage  was  beginning  to  be  long,  and 
we  had  a  great  number  of  sick  persons  on  board.  The 
scurvy  was  seizing  the  whole  crew,  and  even  the  com- 
pany of  Grenadiers  of  Saintonge.  We  were  the  more 
impatient  to  arrive  as,  according  to  all  the  observations 
of  the  pilot  of  the  squadron  on  the  longitudes,  we 
ought  to  have  arrived  already.  However,  these  mis- 
takes in  longitudes  are  common,  and  there  is  no  sure 
method  of  rectifying  them  ;  well-regulated  chronome- 
ters may  give  some  pretty  nearly,  but  this  method 
has  not  been  sufficiently  tried. 

Besides,  the  watches  which  were  on  board  of  the 
Duke  of  Burgundy  had  not  been  well  regulated  on  our 
departure.  I  observe  also  that  a  squadron  which 
often  lies  to,  which  increases  or  slackens  sail  at  every 
moment,  is  more  likely  to  be  deceived  in  the  reckoning 
of  its  longitudes  than  a  vessel  which  goes  alone  and 
uniformly  ;  it  may  also  be  that  our  charts  are  not 
exact,  and  that  New  England  is  improperly  put  down 
upon  them. 

On  the  4th,  a  sailor  died ;  we  lost  one  of  them  the 
night  before.  I  learnt  it  from  the  surgeon-major  with 
whom  I  was  intimately  acquainted ;  for  otherwise 
these  events  would  not  be  known  in  the  round  house 


where  we  remain,  nor  even  upon  deck.  A  dead  man 
is  thrown  into  the  sea  through  a  port-hole,  and  no  one 
sees  it  except  the  persons  entrusted  with  the  care  of 
the  sick,  who  are  kept  in  the  lowest  parts  of  the  ship. 
On  the  same  day  the  pilot  gave  us  only  27  leagues.  At 
one  o'clock  we  paid  out  as  much  as  eight  knots,  which 
makes  three  leagues,  less  one-third.  A  small  vessel 
was  discovered  which  our  frigates  chased.  It  dis- 
charged its  guns  two  or  three  times,  but  after  a  chase 
of  two  hours  it  surrendered.  Whilst  the  Amazone 
was  lashing  it,  the  Surveillante  signaled  that  it  had 
found  bottom  at  22  fathoms,  which  has  occasioned 
great  joy  and  gave  us  hope  of  seeing  land  to-day.  I 
am  writing  this  a  moment  afterwards.  The  Conquer- 
ant  has  also  just  sounded  ;  it  found  25  fathoms.  The 
admiral  has  made  us  lie  to.  We  learnt  from  the  Ama- 
zone, on  board  of  which  we  sent,  that  the  prize  which 
we  have  just  taken  was  coming  from  New  York  and 
was  going  to  Charleston  ;  it  was  a  merchantman  laden 
with  wine  ;  it  confirmed  us  in  the  opinion  that  we 
were  only  eight  or  nine  leagues  from  shore  and  from  the 
entrance  of  Chesapeake  bay.  At  half  after  four,  we 
resumed  our  course,  and  at  six  o'clock  we  could  not  be 
more  than  five  or  six  leagues  from  land.  The  admi- 
ral having  perceived  some  sails  in  front  of  us  and  in 
the  direction  of  the  land,  which  was  not  in  sight,  and 


believing  that  they  were  large  vessels,  he  gave  the 
signal  to  clear  the  decks  for  action  and  then  to  tack 
about,  so  that  we  went  away  from  the  land.     It  was 
suspected  that  the  vessels  which  we  saw  were  those 
which  Admiral  Graves  was  bringing  from  Europe,  and 
among  which  were  some  with  three  decks.     We  ex- 
pected to  be  pursued  and  attacked  during  the  night ; 
but  at  daybreak  we  saw  only  two  vessels  which  seemed 
to  be  frigates  ;  one  of  them  bore  the  English  flag  ;  our 
admiral  chased  them  with  two  frigates.     It  was  about 
six  o'clock  when  this  chase  began  ;  at  ten  o'clock  the 
admiral  ordered  it  to  be  discontinued,  as  he  perceived 
that  the  vessels  in  pursuit  were  not  gaining  upon  the 
enemy's  vessels.     This  was  unfortunate  ;  for  besides 
that  they  might  have  afforded  us  some  useful  informa- 
tion, such  a  prize  would  have  delighted  us;  we  had  to 
regret  removing  from  the  land,  only  five  or  six  leagues 
distant,  in  order  to  go  now  in  search  of  it  at  a  greater 
distance.     At  three  o'clock  we  lay  to  in  order  to  col- 
lect the  convoy,  which  was  scattered.     The  admiral 
restored  order.     We  learnt  by  the  return  of  the  officer 
of  our  ship  that  the  two  vessels  which  had  been  chased 
had  been  mingled  with  us  during  the  night  and  had 
even  discharged  their  cannons  twice  at  the  Duke  of 
Burgundy  and  the    Neptune  ;  it  was   fortunate  that 
they  had  not  fastened  upon  the  convoy ;  they  might 


have  captured  some  vessel  or  at  least  have  damaged 
it.  According  to  appearances,  their  design  was  to 
have  themselves  chased  and  to  entice  one  or  two  of 
our  vessels  into  the  midst  of  the  English  squadron, 
which,  doubtless,  was  not  so  strong  as  had  been  sup- 
posed, since  it  did  not  pursue  us.  The  officers  of  our 
frigates  say  that  they  were  gaining  upon  the  English 
vessels,  one  of  which  was  of  26  guns  and  the  other 
only  a  corvette  of  18  ;  they  offered  in  proof  that  one 
of  these  frigates  had  itself  admitted  that  we  had  the 
advantage  over  it,  since  it  had  thrown  its  boat  and  its 
spare  maintop  mast  into  the  sea,  in  order  to  lighten  it. 
The  admiral  continued  his  course  towards  Rhode  Is- 
land; yet  he  said  that  circumstances  might  induce 
him  to  proceed  to  Boston  ;  he  also  declared  that  he 
had  never  intended  to  enter  Chesapeake  bay,  except 
to  procure  water  and  to  land  his  sick ;  that  it  had  al- 
ways been  his  intention  to  land  the  army  at  Newport 
or  Boston.  This  assertion  of  his  was  disbelieved  by 
many  ;  and  he  was  blamed  for  having  tacked  about  on 
the  evening  of  the  4th,  when  he  perceived  some  ves- 
sels ;  we  ought  to  have  gone  near  to  ascertain  pre- 
cisely their  number  and  strength.  Not  more  than 
eight  had  ever  been  counted,  among  which  there  had, 
perhaps,  been  some  frigates.  If  it  was  too  late  on  that 
day,  the  4th,  when  these  sails  were  perceived,  we  might 


have  lain  to,  after  coming  as  near  as  possible,  and  have- 
rejoined  them  at  daybreak.  These  reflections  did  not 
escape  the  crews,  thns  they  were  dissatisfied  and  lost 
confidence  in  their  leader ;  it  -was,  therefore,  greatly 
to  be  desired  that  they  should  land  speedily  and  not 
meet  the  enemy's  squadron,  and  the  rather  as  we  had 
two  hundred  and  fifty  sick. 

Note.  It  is  certain  that  M.  de  Ternay  manoeuvred 
very  badly  on  this  occasion.  I  have  heard  this  as- 
serted by  M.  de  Cappellis,  a  very  well-informed  naval 
officer,  who  w^as  attached  to  the  admiral  on  board  of 
the  Duke  of  Burgundy.  He  manoeuvred  so  much  the 
worse,  as  we  have  learnt  that  these  vessels  were  only 
a  convoy,  escorted  by  only  two  or  three  ships  of  war, 
and  that  the  frigates  which  mixed  themselves  among 
us  had  been  sent  to  take  up  our  time  and  to  draw  us 
away.  They  risked  them  to  save  the  convoy.  However, 
it  has  been  more  to  our  advantage  that  we  landed  in 
Rhode  Island  instead  of  Chesapeake  bay  ;  it  is  cooler  ; 
the  air  there  is  much  more  healthful ;  the  army  and 
the  squadron  recovered  there  much  better  and  more 

On  the  6th,  at  noon,  we  had  made  24  leagues ;  we 
were  in  the  latitude  of  38°  and  longitude  of  75°  ;  the 
wind   was  favorable,  the  sea  calm.     We  saw  many 


sharks  and  porpoises  or  blowers ;  some  were  more 
than  25  feet  long. 

On  the  7th,  25  leagues.  We  lost  a  man.  It  is  sup- 
posed that  we  are  not  more  than  50  leagues  from 
Newport.  The  captains  of  the  ships  were  summoned. 
I  accompanied  M.  de  la  Grandiere  and  learnt  that  we 
were  positively  to  proceed  to  Newport  and  not  to  Bos- 
ton. It  had  been  foggy  all  day,  in  the  evening  it  be- 
came very  thick  and  the  ships  could  not  see  each  other ; 
therefore,  that  they  might  not  run  foul  of  each  other, 
cannons  and  muskets  were  fired  from  time  to  time ; 
this  fog  lasted  all  night. 

On  the  8th,  in  the  morning,  the  fog  cleared  off,  but 
we  had  calms,  so  that  at  noon  we  had  made  only  12 
leagues.  Again  we  lost  a  sailor.  In  the  afternoon, 
the  fog  reappeared,  we  did  not  perceive  a  single  ves- 
sel. This  fog  lasted  all  night  and  was  accompanied 
by  thunder.  These  fogs  are  very  frequent  in  these 
seas  and  as  far  as  the  banks  of  Newfoundland  ;  it  also 
happens  that  a  troubled  sea  is  found  there  without 
there  being  any  wind  ;  this  proceeds  from  the  banks 
of  sand  ;  as  we  approach  them  that  is  produced  which 
is  called  the  accords  of  a  bank,  and  the  sea  is  always 

At  this  period  and  for  about  a  month  past,  notwith- 
standing the  bad  food,  especially  the   bad  water,  and 


the  scurvy,  by  which  Ave  were  surrounded,  I  was  very 
well ;  in  speaking  of  the  water,  I  will  say  that  although 
it  was  black  and  unpleasant  to  the  sight,  it  had  not  a 
bad  taste  ;  we  had  drunk  some  of  it  which  had  been 
on  board  for  six  months. 

On  the  9th,  in  the  morning,  one  of  our  frigates 
sounded  and  found  bottom  at  forty  fathoms. 

The  fog  became  thicker  than  it  had  yet  been.  At 
half  after  11,  being  about  three  leagues  from  Block 
island,  a  little  island  situated  four  leagues  from 
Rhode  island,  the  admiral  by  eight  discharges  of 
cannon,  gave  a  signal  for  anchoring,  which  was  done. 
The  wind  was  cool  and  the  fog  very  thick  ;  yet  this 
manoeuvre  was  very  successful  and  without  accident. 
I  am  writing  this  a  moment  afterwards,  about  noon. 
It  is  very  desirable  that  the  fog  should  cease  and  that 
we  should  at  least  be  able  to  land.  The  condition  of 
our  sick  is  worse,  and  a  battle  ivould  not  he  more  mur- 
derous than  a  longer  stay  at  sea.  We  are  in  a  very 
critical  moment.  Shall  we  meet  the  English  before  land- 
ing, and  will  they  have  a  superior  force  ?  At  any  rate,  it 
is  to  their  interest  to  attack  us.  Therefore  the  gene- 
ral opinion  is  that  we  shall  not  land  without  firing  a 
gun,  and  perhaps  at  the  moment  when  we  least  expect 
it.  An  English  squadron  may  be  near  us  without  our 
knowing  it  on  account  of  the  fog.     How  shall  ice  he  re- 


celved  hy  the  Americans  ?  Have  they  not  made  their 
peace  ?  or,  at  least,  have  not  the  English  seized  the 
ground  to  which  we  expect  to  proceed  ?  These  are 
the  questions  which  we  ask  each  other.  I  have,  there- 
fore, reason  to  say  that  we  are  in  a  critical  and  truly 
interesting  situation ;  and  it  is  to  be  regretted  that  we 
have  not  met  with  any  American  vessel ;  it  is  still 
more  surprising  that  they  have  not  sent  any  one  to 
meet  us. 

At  half  after  one,  the  fog  began  to  disperse ;  then 
the  admiral  signaled  to  raise  the  anchor  and  to  set 
sail.  We  found  ourselves  very  near  him  and  con- 
versed with  M.  de  Rochambeau ;  he  invited  M.  de 
Viomenil  to  go  and  talk  with  him.  He  did  so  and,  on 
his  return,  told  us  that  M.  de  Ternay's  intention  was 
to  go  as  near  to  the  land  as  possible  and  then,  if  we 
did  not  meet  with  the  enemy,  to  land  M.  de  Rocham- 
beau and  his  staff;  that,  for  this  purpose,  he  would  go 
on  board  of  a  frigate  and,  as  soon  as  he  has  gone,  a 
signal  will  be  made  on  board  of  the  Due  de  Bourgogne 
for  M.  de  Viomenil's  going  to  it  with  me,  that  he  may 
take  command  of  the  troops  which  are  not  landed,  and 
that  I  may  receive  his  orders  respecting  the  business 
of  my  department;  M.  de  Tarle,  the  directing  commis- 
sary, is  to  accompany  M.  de  Rochambeau.  At  half  past 
three  on  the  same  day  we  set  sail.     A  minute  after- 


wards  one  of  the  merchantmen  which  we  had  captured 
signaled  the  hind.  At  four  o'clock,  it  was  discovered 
from  the  masts  of  our  vessel ;  at  five  o'clock,  we  all  saw 
it  very  distinctly :  After  a  voyage  of  69  days,  this 
was  a  great  joy ;  our  sick  people  came  out  of  their 
beds,  and  this  sight  seemed  to  restore  them  to  health. 
I  am  writing  in  the  first  moment  of  excitement ;  one 
should  have  been  at  sea,  in  the  midst  of  the  sick  and 
dying,  to  feel  it  thoroughly.  What  adds  to  our  satis- 
faction is  that  we  do  not  discover  a  sail,  and  that,  ac- 
cording to  appearance,  we  shall  land  without  hindrance, 
which  is  greatly  to  be  desired,  I  repeat  it,  for  there  are 
many  sick,  not  only  on  our  vessel  but  upon  all  those 
of  the  squadron  and  of  the  convoy.  On  the  same  day 
at  about  eight  o'clock,  the  admiral  made  us  anchor ; 
we  were  three  leagues  from  the  land  ;  what  we  saw  was 
Martha's  Vineyard,  a  little  island  lying  to  the  north 
and  twelve  leagues  from  Rhode  island.  We  again  lost 
two  sailors. 

On  the  10th,  at  four  o'clock  in  the  morning,  the  ad- 
miral caused  us  to  set  sail ;  towards  noon,  some  pilots 
reached  us  from  the  neighboring  islands.  The  one 
whom  we  had  on  board  told  us  that  the  Americans 
were  still  masters  of  Rhode  Island  and  that  he  did 
not  believe  that  the  English  had  a  greater  force  than 
ours  in  these  seas.     This  man  was  from  the  island  of 

Martha's  Vineyard  ;  he  had  come  of  his  own  accord  to 
offer  us  his  services  ;  he  was  a  good  man  and  displayed 
intelligence.  He  was  neither  a  royalist  nor  insurgent, 
but  a  friend  to  everybody,  as  he  told  us  with  much 
simplicity.  At  ten  o'clock  in  the  evening,  we  an- 
chored.    Another  sailor  died. 

On  the  11th,  at  four  o'clock  in  the  morning,  we  raised 
the  anchor.  At  seven  o'clock,  during  foggy  weather,  a 
vessel  of  the  convoy  gave  a  signal  of  danger;  it  was 
very  near  the  land  ;  before  long,  we  perceived  it  our- 
selves. The  admiral  made  us  anchor,  the  rather  as  the 
fog  was  growing  thicker  ;  but  it  soon  dispersed  at  eight 
o'clock ;  we  saw  the  land  very  distinctly,  which  was 
on  one  side.  Point  Judith,  from  wdiich  we  were  only  a 
league  distant,  and  on  the  other,  Khode  island.  We 
distinguished  the  shore  of  Point  Judith  perfectly  well ; 
it  appeared  pleasant  to  us.  But  what  we  saw  with 
great  satisfaction  was  a  French  flag  placed  upon  each 
of  the  two  shores  which  were  in  front  of  us.  This 
signal,  doubtless  agreed  upon  \vith  M.  de  La  Fayette, 
who  had  preceded  our  squadron,  informed  us  that  the 
English  were  not  masters  of  Rhode  island,  and  that 
we  would  be  well  received  there.  M.  de  Rochambeau 
and  the  officers  of  his  staff  repaired  on  board  of  the 
Amazone,  which  immediately  set  sail  for  Newport, 
where  he  arrived  before  noon.     For  my  part,  I  went 


with  M.  de  Vioinenil  on  board  of  the  Due  de  Bour- 
gogne,  as  had  been  agreed  upon. 

In  the  meanwhile,  the  vessels  of  the  convoy  raised 
their  anchors  and  also  proceeded  to  Newport.  The  wind 
was  light,  but  having  risen  at  four  o'clock,  M.  de  Ternay 
caused  the  ships  of  war  to  set  sail ;  the  sea  was  calm 
and  everything  favored  our  progress  so  that  we  reached 
Newport  about  seven  o'clock.  The  ships  anchored  pretty 
near  each  other  a  quarter  of  a  league  from  the  city. 
M.  de  La  Touche,  a  naval  lieutenant,  the  commander 
of  the  frigate  Hermione,  who  had  left  Rochefort  a 
month  before  us,  to  announce  our  arrival  and  to  con- 
duct M.  de  La  Fayette  as  well  as  M.  de  Corny,  came  on 
board  of  the  Due  de  Burgogne  and  confirmed  what  we 
had  already  learnt  from  our  pilots,  that  he  had  had  an 
engagement  a  short  time  before  with  an  English  frigate 
of  equal  force,  an  engagement  which  had  been  nearly 
equal  on  both  sides,  and  in  which  he  had  10  men 
killed  and  37  wounded  ;  he  himself  had  received  a 
ball  in  his  arm.  The  Englishman  had  lost  more  men, 
but  had  been  less  damaged  in  the  rigging. 

Note.  When  M.  de  La  Fayette  set  out  for  America, 
it  was  a  question  whether  a  commissary  should  be 
given  to  him,  in  order  to  prepare  what  would  be  ne- 
cessary for  our  troops.  They  cast  their  eyes  upon  me ; 
but  I  w^as  at  Nantes,  and  although  it  was  proposed  to 


send  a  courier  to  me,  they  calculated  that  I  would  not 
have  twenty-four  hours  to  prepare  for  my  departure. 
M.  de  Corny  was  then  appointed,  who  did  not  belong 
to  the  expedition,  and  who  happened  to  be  at  Ver- 
sailles ;  it  occasioned  great  expense  and  was  not  of 
much  assistance.     I  will  speak  of  it  again. 



Landbuj  at  Rhode  Idand —  T/n-cnfened  Attack  of  an  Jinf/Ush 
Fleet  —  EstabUshmeat  of  tJir  llosp/frds  —  M.  'Bkmcha'rd  is 
sent  to  Boston  —  Rhode  Island  is  placed  in  a  State  of  De- 
fense—  Composition  of  the  Army —  First  Intercourse  of  the 
F-ench  Generals  with  General  Washington — Residence  at 
Providence  —  Its  Environs  —  Markets  for  the  Armij  — 
Winter  Quarters  of  the  French  Forces. 

(From  July  12tli,  1780  to  March  27th,  1781.) 

On  the  VAi\\  of  July,  1780,  the  day  after  our  arrival, 
the  troops  had  not  yet  landed  ;  there  was  even  an 
express  prohibition  against  landing,  and  I  did  not  ob- 
tain permission  until  four  o'clock  in  the  afternoon.  I, 
therefore,  placed  my  foot  upon  the  earth  at  Newport. 
This  city  is  small,  but  handsome ;  the  streets  are 
straight  and  the  houses,  although  mostly  of  wood,  of 
agreeable  shape.  In  the  evening  there  was  an  illu- 
mination. I  entered  the  house  of  an  inhabitant,  who 
received  me  very  well ;  I  took  tea  there,  which  was 
served  by  a  young  lady. 

On  the  lotli,  I  was  at  Papisquash  on  the  main 
land,  twenty  leagues  from  Newport,  to  examine  an 


establishment  which  M.  de  Corny  had  arranged  for 
our  sick.  I  stopped  at  Bristol,  a  village  not  far  from 
Papisquash,  and  looked  for  an  inn  where  I  might  dine  ; 
but  I  found  nothing  there  but  coffee  and  badly-raised 
bread ;  we  were  obliged  to  have  it  toasted  to  be  able 
to  eat  it.  I  was  with  M.  Demars,  the  steward  of  the 
hospitals,  and  M.  Corte,  the  first  physician.  We  were 
obliged  to  pay  12  livres  for  the  passage  of  a  ferry-boat : 
they  asked  30  of  us  :  we  found  on  our  way  some  pretty 
houses  ;  but  the  country  is  generally  barren  in  the 
part  which  we  traversed  ;  there  are  few  trees  and  they 
are  not  very  hardy.  From  this  day,  the  13th,  our 
troops  began  to  disembark. 

On  the  14th  and  15th  the  troops  finished  landing 
and  encamping  about  half  a  league  from  Newport. 
We  sent  some  of  the  sick  to  Papisquash,  and,  at  the 
same  time,  put  some  of  them  in  an  establishment 
hastily  formed  at  Newport.  On  the  15th,  the  fri- 
gate Hermione,  which  M.  de  Ternay  sent  to  cruise 
from  the  instant  of  our  arrival,  to  go  in  search  of 
the  Isle  of  France,  one  of  our  transports  which 
had  become  separated  from  us  during  the  fogs  of 
which  I  have  spoken,  returned  without  having  found 
it.  This  transport  was  conveying  350  men  of  the 
regiment  of  Bourbonnois,  some  military  stores,  and 
many    efiects    belonging  to  the  general   officers ;    we 


were  all  very  uneasy,  and  I  more  than  any  one 
else  :  my  brother-in-law,  tlie  ChevdUer  de  CorioJis, 
an  officer  of  the  regiment  of  Bourbonnois,  was  on 
board  of  it.^  Nevertheless,  we  hoped  that  this  ves- 
sel might  reach  Boston,  and  we  impatiently  waited 
for  news  of  it. 

On  the  16th,  we  sent  a  great  number  of  the  sick  to 
Papisquash.  For  this  purpose,  I  was  in  the  harbor  on 
board  of  several  vessels.  On  the  same  day  I  went  to 
occupy  a  lodging  that  was  furnished  in  a  very  pretty 
house ;  previously,  I  had  lodged  with  M.  de  Tarle ;  I 
also  continued  to  live  with  him. 

On  the  17th,  in  the  morning,  I  chanced  to  enter  a 
school.  The  master  seemed  to  me  a  very  worth}'- 
man  ;  he  was  teaching  some  children  of  both  sexes  ; 
all  were  neatly  clad  ;  the  room  in  which  the  school 
was  kept  was  also  very  clean.  [  saw  the  writing  of 
these  children,  it  appeared  to  me  to  be  handsome, 
among  others,  that  of  a  young  girl  9  or  10  years  old, 
very  pretty  and  very  modest  and  such  as  I  would  like 
my  own  daughter  to  be,  when  she  is  as  old  ;  she  was 
called  Abigail  Earl,  as  I  perceived  upon  her  copy-book, 
on  which  her  name  was  written.  I  wrote  it  myself,  add- 
ing to  it  "  very  pretty."^     This  school  had  really  in- 

'  Batistaine  de  Coriolis. 

-  These  two  words  are  in  English  in  the  oriojinal. 


terested  me,  and  the  master  had  not  the  air  of  a  mis- 
sionarj^  but  the  tone  of  the  father  of  a  family. 

On  the  18th,  I  visited,  in  company  with  M.  de 
Rochambeau,  an  Anabaptist  temple,^  where  we  esta- 
blished a  hospital. 

On  the  19th,  I  was  at  Papisquash,  where  there  were 
already  280  sick  persons  ;  but  they  were  far  from  being 
provided  with  everything  that  was  necessary  for  them  ; 
fortunately,  they  were  in  a  pretty  good  air.  Papis- 
quash forms  a  kind  of  landscape  surrounded  by  trees. 
The  commonest  are  acacias,  pear-trees  and  cherry- 
trees  ;  the  ground  is  sown  with  flax  and  maize,  with 
a  little  barley  and  rye.  Besides,  our  sick  who  had 
the  scurvy  began  to  recover  ;  vegetables  were  furnished 
them  and  the  physician  allowed  them  to  eat  cherries. 
We  lived  on  good  terms  with  the  inhabitants  of  this 
neighborhood.  They  are  affable,  well  clad,  very 
cleanly  and  all  tall.  The  women  enjoy  the  same  ad- 
vantages, have  fair  skins  and  are  generally  pretty. 
They  all  have  oxen  and  cows,  at  least  as  handsome  as 
those  of  our  Poitou  ;  their  cows  are  not  stabled  and 
pass  the  night  in  the  fields ;  they  give  much  milk. 

On  the  20th  I  returned  to  Newport ;  I  there  learnt 
that  the  Isle  of  France  had  put  into  port  at  Boston, 

1  Protestant  churches  are  called  temples  in  France. 


which  was  very  good  news  for  me,  as  for  everyone 

On  the  21st,  after  having  dined  with  the  Baron  de 
Viomenil,  as  we  were  at  the  quarters  of  General  de 
Kochambeau,  who  was  holding  a  council,  we  were  in- 
formed that  several  vessels  were  perceived  steerhig  for 
Newport ;  it  was  four  o'clock  ;  he  immediately  mounted 
his  horse  and  caused  several  batteries  to  be  estabHslied 
upon  the  shore.  M.  de  Ternay,  for  his  part,  made 
some  arrangements.  The  vessels  that  were  discovered 
were  lying  to  at  nightfall.  I  also  mounted  on  horse- 
back and  saw  them  very  plainly  ;  I  counted  nineteen 
of  them. 

On  the  22d,  the  same  vessels  still  appeared,  they 
cruised  all  day  ;  it  was  not  likely  that  they  would  at- 
tempt to  enter  Newport.  M.  de  Rochambeau,  with 
whom  I  dined  that  day,  said  publicly  that  he  wished 
that  the  English  would  attempt  it.  At  this  dinner 
were  several  Americans,  all  good  patriots,  and  also  an 
English  officer,  who  was  a  prisoner.  They  addressed 
some  sharp  words  to  each  other;  which  proves  how 
earnest  both  parties  were. 

On  the  23d,  we  still  saw  the  English ;  there  were 
eleven  large  vessels,  the  rest  were  frigates  or  trans- 
ports. M.  de  Rochambeau  came  to  hear  mass  at  the 
hospital  and  to  visit  the  sick ;  we  had  400  of  them  at 


Newport  and  280  at  Papisquash  ;  the  detachment  of 
the  regiment  of  Bourbonnois,  which  had  landed  at 
Boston,  also  had  a  hundred  of  them,  so  that  we  had 
about  800  sick  out  of  a  body  of  troops  amounting  to 
5000  men  ;  for  I  speak  only  of  the  sick  among  the  land 
forces.  The  navy  had  its  own  in  its  own  hospitals. 
The  royal  regiment  of  Deux- Fonts  had  300  of  them  ;  it 
appears  that  the  Germans  feel  the  heat  more  and  are 
more  subject  to  the  scurvy  than  the  French.  All 
these  maladies  had  begun  to  manifest  themselves  when 
we  were  in  the  latitude  of  27°.  There  is  reason  to  be- 
lieve that  we  shall  save  many  of  them  ;  the  air  of 
Rhode  Island  is  good  ;  it  is  hot  there,  but  only  in  the 
middle  of  the  day  ;  for  the  mornings  and  evenings  are 
cool  without  being  damp.  I  have  not  been  able  to  as- 
certain positively  the  degree  of  heat,  not  having  a 
thermometer.  At  present,  the  temperature  seems  to 
me  to  be  the  same  as  that  of  the  island  of  Corsica,  24° 
on  an  average. 

On  the  24th,  the  detachment  of  the  regiment  of 
Bourbonnois,  which  had  landed  at  Boston,  arrived  at 
Newport.  I  saw  my  brother-in-law,  to  whom  I  gave 
a  dinner  the  next  day. 

On  the  25th,  it  was  decided  that  I  should  go  to  Bos- 
ton to  introduce  a  little  order  into  the  hospital  which 
had  been  hastily  established  there  to  receive  the  sick 


who  had  been  landed  from  the  Isle  of  France.  In  the 
evening  the  Count  de  Rochambeau  sent  nie  some 
letters  to  carry  to  the  captain  of  a  French  vessel  which 
was  at  Boston,  and  which  was  expected  to  sail  imme- 
diately. The  general  sent  for  me  again  and  pretty 
late,  since  I  had  gone  to  bed.  I  went  to  him ;  he 
asked  me  to  start  on  horseback  the  next  day,  as  early 
as  possible  (I  was  to  go  in  a  coach  with  M.  de  Capellis, 
a  naval  officer)  and  he  gave  me  some  letters  for  the 
Boston  committee,  to  persuade  them  to  order  the  pro- 
vincial troops  under  their  command  to  repair  to  New- 
port as  quickly  as  possible.  In  fact,  he  had  just  been 
informed  by  General  Washington  that  the  English 
intended  to  attack  us  at  Rhode  Island.  M.  de  Roch- 
ambeau told  me  what  to  add  on  my  own  account,  in 
order  to  supplement  what  he  had  not  been  able  to  say 
in  the  dispatch,  in  order  to  make  them  feel  the  need 
of  this  assistance. 

On  the  26th,  at  five  o'clocl^  in  the  morning,  I 
mounted  my  horse,  accompanied  by  a  dragoon  in  the 
American  service,  a  Saxon  who  had  come  to  America 
with  the  Hessian  troops  in  the  pay  of  England.  He 
spoke  English,  with  which  I  was  as  yet  unacquainted, 
but  fortunately  Latin  also  and  very  well,  so  that  we 
were  able  to  converse ;  it  is  the  first  time  that  Latin 
has  been  of  use  to  me  in  this  way.     I  explained  my 


ideas  in  Latin  to  this  dragoon,  and,  by  translating 
them  into  English,  he  served  as  my  interpreter  with 
the  people  of  the  country.  At  noon,  we  were  at 
Providence,  a  city  of  the  same  importance  as  Newport 
and  more  commercial ;  it  has  good  anchorage  and  a 
very  convenient  port,  suitable  for  trade.  I  got  down 
at  the  house  of  sonic  French  merchants,  to  which 
one  of  their  clerks  whom  I  met  on  the  road  conducted 
me,  and  I  dined  with  them.  M.  Lyon,  one  of  these 
merchants,  whose  main  house  was  at  Boston,  gave  me 
a  letter  to  his  partner,  M.  Adolph,  who  had  remained 
there.  My  horse  being  tired,  they  procured  me  a 
small  carriage  drawn  by  a  horse  which  I  drove  myself. 
I  set  out  at  five  o'clock,  still  accompanied  by  my  dra- 
goon ;  at  eleven  o'clock  in  the  evening  we  were  only 
five  leagues  from  Boston ;  but  we  were  obliged  to  lie 
at  an  inn.  On  the  road  and  when  night  had  arrived, 
as  we  were  passing  through  a  wood,  I  gave  free  course 
to  my  thoughts.  I  was  1500  leagues  from  my  own 
country,  accompanied  by  a  man  who  had  come  him- 
self a  still  greater  distance  ;  a  strange  destiny  placed 
us  beside  each  other  for  a  moment. 

On  the  27th,  I  set  out  for  Boston  and  arrived  there 
at  nine  o'clock.  I  got  down  at  M.  Adolph's,  who  re- 
ceived me  very  well  and  offered  me  a  room  which  I 
accepted.     I   had  myself  taken  immediately   to  the 


house  of  Mr.  Bowdoiii,^  the  president  of  the  Boston 
committee,  to  whom  I  handed  M.  de  Rocliambeau's 
letter  and  another  which  had  been  entrusted  to  me  by 
M.  de  Corny,  who  was  acquainted  with  him  and  liad 
been  very  intimate  with  him  when  he  was  in  Boston. 
I  had  a  Frenchman  with  me,  as  an  interpreter,  called 
the  Chevalier  de  Luz,  who  called  himself  an  officer. 
Mr.  Bowdoin  caused  the  committee  to  be  assembled, 
agreeably  to  the  general's  letter  ;  and  in  the  evening 
he  sent  me  an  answer  which  I  immediately  forwarded 
to  M.  de  Rochambeau  ;  it  was  favorable  and  orders 
had  been  given  for  the  militia  to  repair  innnediately 
to  Rhode  Island.  On  the  28th,  I  s;iw  Mr.  Bowdoin 
again,  in  company  with  M.  de  Capellis,  who  had  ar- 
rived. He  invited  us  to  come  in  the  evening  to  take 
tea  at  his  house.  We  went  there  ;  the  tea  was  served 
by  his  daughter,  Mrs.  Temple,  a  loeautiful  woman, 
whose  husband  was  a  tory,  that  is  to  say  opposed  to 
the  revolution  ;  he  had  even  left  America  and  gone  to 
England.  Mr.  Bowdoin  has  a  very  handsome  house ; 
he  is  a  wealthy  man  and  respected  in  his  country  ;  he 
is  descended  from  a  French  refugee  and  his  name  pro- 
claims it.  He  received  us  politely  and  had  a  very 
noble  bearing.  I  ought  not  to  forget  that  he  told  me 
that  I  resembled  Franklin  when  he  was  youno-.     On 

'  Sj)elt  Beaudom  in  tlu'  original. 



the  same  day  we  went  to  Mr.  Hancock's,  but  he  was 
sick  and  we  were  not  able  to  see  him.  This  Mr.  Han- 
cock^ is  one  of  the  authors  of  the  revolution,  as  also  is 
the  doctor  with  whom  we  breakfasted  on  the  29th  :  he 
is  a  minister  who  seemed  to  me  to  be  a  man  of  intelli- 
gence, eloquent  and  enthusiastic.  ~  He  has  much  in- 
fluence over  the  inhabitants  of  Boston  who  are  devout 
and  Presbyterians,  imbued,  generally,  with  the  principles 
of  Cromwell's  partisans,  from  whom  they  are  descended. 
Therefore,  they  are  more  attached  to  independence 
than  any  other  class  of  people  in  America ;  and  it  was 
they  who  began  the  revolution. 

During  my  stay  in  Boston,  I  dined  at  the  house  of 
a  young  American  lady,  where  M.  de  Capellis  lodged. 
At  Newport  we  had  seen  her  sister  and  her  brother-in- 
law,  Mr.  Carter,  an  Anglo-American,  who  had  come 
to  supply  provisions  to  our  army.  It  is  a  great  contrast 
to  our  manners  to  see  a  young  lady  (she  was  twenty, 
at  the  most)  lodging  and  entertaining  a  young  man. 
I  shall  certainly  have  occasion  to  explain  the  causes 
of  this  singularity. 

The  city  of  Boston  seemed  to  me  as  large  as  Orleans, 
not  so  broad,  perhaps,  but  longer.  It  is,  Ukewise,  well- 
built  and  displays  an  indescribable  cleanliness  which 

I  Si»elt  Aiu'ouke  in  tlie  original. 
-The  Rev.  Dr.  CVtuper. 


is  pleasing  ;  most  of  the  liouses  are  of  wood  ;  some  are 
of  stone  and  brick.  The  people  seemed  to  Ije  in  easy  cir- 
cumstances. Nevertheless  the  shops  were  poorly  stocked 
with  goods,  and  everything  was  very  dear,  which  re- 
sulted from  the  war.  Their  bookstores  had  hardly 
anything  but  prayer-books  ;  an  English  and  French 
dictionary  cost  me  eight  louis  d  or.  I  saw  on  the  signs 
of  two  shops  the  name  of  Blanchard,  written  like  my 
own,  one  Caleb  Blanchard,  the  other,  John. 

In  general,  we  were  very  well  received  by  the  Bos- 
tonians,  we  exhibited  much  interest  in  them  and  made 
them  understand  how  much  the  king  felt  for  them  ; 
we  mentioned  a  speech  of  his  to  them,  on  this  sub- 
ject ;  he  said  to  the  Count  of  Rochambeau  who  was 
taking  leave  of  him  that  he  recommended  the  Ame- 
ricans to  him,  adding,  "  These  are  my  real  allies  ;  " 
which,  doubtless,  meant  that  it  was  Louis  XVI  himself 
who  had  made  a  treaty  of  alliance  with  them,  whilst 
the  treaties  with  other  allies  dated  from  previous  reigns. 
Ought  I  to  mention  that  M.  de  Volnais,  the  consul  of 
France,  having  taken  me  in  his  coach  along  with  M. 
de  Capellis,  overturned  us  at  the  corner  of  a  sloping 
street  ?  It  was  a  very  high  and  open  carriage,  a  kind 
of  whisky,  so  that  we  were  thrown  upon  the  pavement 
and  to  a  considerable  distance.  Fortunately  we  were 
not  in  the  least  hurt,  excepting  the  consul,  who  fell 


upon  a  wound  which  he  had  received  a  short  time 
before,  whilst  fighting  a  duel  with  another  Frenchman  ; 
for  he  was  a  manslayer,  my  fate  being  to  meet  them 
everywhere.  This  one  was  a  good  fellow,  but  not  very 
well  adapted  for  the  post  which  he  filled. 

M.  de  Capellis   and  I  left  Boston  on   the  oOth  and 
slept  at  Providence,  which  is  distant  45  miles,  that  is 
to  say,  about  fifteen   leagues.     The  road  is   pleasant, 
we  passed  through  some  woods,  where  there  are  some 
pretty  handsome  oaks.     They  appeared   to  me  to  be 
of  a  different  species  from  ours ;  their  leaf  is  larger  and 
the  bark  is  not  so  smooth.     We  find  also  some  pretty 
handsome  villages,  and,  as  it  was  Sunday,  we  continu- 
ally met  people  who  were  going  to  the  temple  or  re- 
turning from  it,  most  of  them  in  light  carriages,  drawn 
by  a  single  horse.     There  are  few  inhabitants  in  this 
part  of  the  country  who  do  not  own  one,  for,  without 
being  rich,   they   are  in   easy   circumstances.     They 
cultivate  the  earth  themselves,  with  the  help  of  some 
negroes ;  but  these  estates  belong  to  them  aaid  they 
are  owners.     We  also  met  some  provincial  soldiers, 
who,  in  obedience  to  the  orders  that  the  Boston  com- 
mittee had  sent  to  them,  were  repairing  in  crowds  to 
Newport,  where,  in  less  than  three  days,  there  would 
have  been  more  than  four  thousjind  of  them,  if  there 
had  not  been  a  counterm.and,  upon  the   information 
which  we  received  that  we  would  not  be  attacked. 


On  the  31st,  we  started  for  Newport,  where  we  ar- 
rived on  the  same  day.  There  were  ten  good  leagues 
and  a  ferry  sometimes  difficult  to  cross.  We  found 
that  they  were  at  work  over  the  whole  island  in  restor- 
ing the  old  redoubts  made  by  the  English  and  in  making 
new  ones.  At  this  work  the  American  militia  were 
employed,  a  part  of  whom  had  been  retained;  our 
troops  worked  on  them,  for  their  part,  so  that  they 
were  in  a  condition  to  give  a  warm  reception  to  the 
English,  who  had  committed  a  great  fault  in  not  at- 
tacking us  as  soon  as  they  appeared  ;  then,  whatever  M. 
de  Rochambeau  said,  who,  nevertheless,  did  very  well 
to  appear  secure,  they  might  have  done  us  much  mis- 
chief; nothing  was  ready,  few  of  the  cannon  were  as 
yet  in  battery,  our  soldiers  were  sick  or  tired  and  almost 
all  of  the  sailors  on  shore.  But,  in  fifteen  days,  they 
had  had  time  to  recover  and  to  make  good  arrange- 
ments as  well  for  our  vessels  as  for  the  land  forces. 

I  have  been  very  busy  during  the  first  days  of  Au- 
gust ;  moreover,  I  do  not  perceive  any  observations  that 
appear  to  me  to  be  worth  mentioning,  until  this  day, 
August  the  loth.  Since  the  1st,  we  have  remained 
very  quiet  in  our  island  of  Rhode  Island.  The  Eng- 
lish ships  have  appeared  and  disappeared  ;  it  has  been 
said  by  turns  that  they  would  attack  us  and  that  they 
would  not  attack  us ;  the  two   admirals,    French  and 


English,  have  sent  flags  of  truce  to  each  other.  Be- 
sides, we  have  continued  to  put  the  island  in  a  con- 
dition of  defense,  with  the  assistance  of  some  American 
troops.  To-day,  the  loth,  there  was  a  council  of  ad- 
ministration at  M.  de  Rochambeau's,  composed  of  the 
general  officers  and  the  commissaries.  I  had  a  very 
lively  scene  with  the  steward^  respecting  a  purchase  of 
meat  which  we  have  passed  for  the  hospitals,  which 
he  had  at  first  rejected,  although  he  has  made  one 
subsequently  for  the  whole  army  at  a  much  higher 
price  than  that  for  the  hospital.  Our  dispute  arose 
from  his  having  asserted  that  either  M.  Demars  or  I 
had  reported  that  he  had  refused  to  accept  an  advan- 
tageous bargain,  and  that  this  was  injurious  to  his  re- 
putation. I  repeated  it  in  every  particular  and 
answered  him  with  a  coolness  and  vigor  of  which  I 
did  not  believe  myself  capable.  The  Messrs.  de 
Viomenil,  who  are  friendly  to  me,  consider  that  I  was 
not  gentle  enough  towards  the  steward.  M.  de  Ro- 
chambeau  said  nothing  to  me  about  it,  but  I  perceived 
that  he  disapproved  of  my  conduct.  The  next  day  I 
went  to  Papisquash  with  M.  de  Beville,  quarter-mas- 
ter general  of  the  army.  I  saw  M.  de  Tarle  before 
my  departure  ;  we  spoke  to  each  other  coolly,  but  with- 
out any  explanations.     On  my  return,   I  was  at  the 

1  M.  de  Tarle. 


quarters  of  M.  de  Rochambeau,  who  behaved  to  me  as 
usual.  But  the  Baron  de  Viomenil  insisted  on  recon- 
ciling me  with  the  steward ;  he  had  the  kindness  to 
take  me  to  his  house:  [we  embraced  and  all  was  said  ;^] 
but  I  am  afraid  that  this  scene  will  be  repeated,  the 
said  gentleman  having  ways  of  doing  business  utterly 
opposed  to  mine.  He  is  cold,  methodical,  hard  to 
please  in  matters  of  business  and  not  very  enlightened  : 
besides  he  is  haughty  and  certainly  has  a  cold  heart.^ 

On  Thursday  the  ITtli,  I  went  to  Providence  with 
M.  Demars.  I  have  already  spoken  of  this  city  which 
I  prefer  to  Newport ;  it  seems  more  lively,  more  ad- 
dicted to  commerce,  more  sui?|^)lies  are  to  be  found  there. 
We  there  established  a  very  considerable  hospital  in  a 
very  handsome  house,  formerly  occupied  as  a  college. 

On  the  18th,  after  having  attended  to  this  establish- 
ment, I  paid  some  visits  in  the  city,  first  to  Mr.  Var- 
num ;  he  had  been  made  the  commander-in-chief  of 

^(Ai)i)areiitly  l>y  :i  lifter  liaiid.)  Tliey  embi-ac-cMl  (.'usily  in 
those  (lays.     This  fasliioii  lias  passed  away. 

-All  tliat  was  tnic,  and  the  steward,  in  tliis  iiistanee,  was  cer- 
tainly the  first  in  the  wi-oiig  ;  hut  on  my  part,  1  was  too  warm  ; 
I  ought,  either  l>y  great  moderation  or  hy  some  jests,  to  Iiave 
l)Ut  the  langliers  on  my  side,  whereas  my  warmth  was  hlameiL 
I  have  often  reproached  myself  foi-  this  scene,  and  I  reproacli 
myself  forit  still  more  strongly  to  day  (2d  year  of  the  ri'pidilic). 
It  certainly  excited  ])rejndice  against  me. 


the  militia  of  the  country  and  had  been  styled  gene- 
ral. I  then  went  to  Mr.  Hancock's  whom  I  have 
already  mentioned ;  he  has  come  to  Providence  on 
account  of  business  ;  I  was  very  well  received  by  them. 

On  the  19th,  General  Varnum  took  me  two  miles 
from  the  city  to  a  sort  of  garden  where  different  per- 
sons had  met  and  were  playing  nine-pins ;  they  made 
us  drink  punch  and  tea.  The  place  was  pleasant  and 
rural,  and  this  little  jaunt  gave  me  pleasure.  I  was 
beginning  to  speak  some  English  words  and  was  able 
to  converse.  Besides,  General  Varnum  spoke  Latin. 
On  the  2Uth,  I  dined  at  the  house  of  the  said  general 
with  his  wife  and  his  sister-in-law ;  after  dinner  some 
young  ladies  came  who  seemed  well  disposed  to  con- 
verse and  to  become  acquainted  with  us.  They  were 
very  handsomely  dressed. 

In  the  evening,  M.  Gau,  commandant  of  artillery, 
who  arrived  from  Boston,  informed  me  that  the  Alli- 
ance, an  American  frigate,  had  just  arrived.  It  had 
left  Lorient  on  the  9th  of  July.  The  captain,  named 
Landais,  born  a  Fi'enchman,  had  left  Lorient  without 
waiting  for  the  king's  despatches.  He  wished  to  cruise, 
although  laden  with  powder  which  he  was  ordered  to 
bring  straight  to  Boston ;  his  crew,  tired  of  his  follies 
and  his  vexations,  had  shut  him  up  in  his  cabin  and 
had  given   the  command  of  the   frigate  to  his  mate. 


On  board  were  two  French  officers,  aides-de-camp  of 
M.  de  la  Fayette,  and  Mr.  Lee,  who  had  been  a  long 
time  in  France,  a  deputy  of  the  congress;  they  told  us 
that  on  the  Dth  of  July  the  body  of  troops  which  they 
were  to  send  to  usand  which  they  called  the  second 
division  had  not  yet  started.  Besides  this,  they  gave  us 
no  very  certain  news  respecting  the  affairs  of  Europe. 

On  the  19th,  I  was  about  two  miles  from  Providence 
uith  the  health  officers  of  the  hospital  to  examine 
some  waters  which  were  said  to  be  mineral ;  but  we 
found  nothing  in  them  but  a  little  more  coolness  than 
in  the  water  which  we  use  every  day.  This  fountain 
is  situated  in  a  rural  and  prett}'  agreealjle  spot  and 
quite  near  to  a  little  wood  which,  by  its  shape,  the 
way  in  which  the  trees  were  situated,  their  size,  etc., 
reminded  me  of  that  which  is  opposite  to  Les  GniUieres} 
To-day  the  wind  blew  from  the  north  and  we  were  cold. 
This  sudden  change  from  cold  to  warmth  causes  colics  ; 
my  servant  Bourdais  had  a  very  violent  one,  a  kind 
of  cholera-morbus,  which  made  me  fear  ior  his  life. 

On  the  22d,  I  returned  to  Newport.  I  dined  mid- 
way at  Warren,  in  a  pretty  handsome  inn.  Not  far 
from  there  there  was  a  salt-work  which  I  went  to  see. 
On  the  following  days  we  had  some  councils  of  ad- 
ministration, which  passed  off  pretty  well. 

'  .V  cliateau  in  tlie  neighborhood  of  Angers  (eomninne  of 
Saiut  Sylvain),  which  then  belonged  to  M.  Blanchard. 


I  have  given  a  list  of  the  officers  with  whom  I 
had  embarked  upon  the  Conquerant.  Here  now  are 
the  principal  persons  composing  our  armj^ 

M.  the  Count  de  Rochambeau,  commander-in-chief, 
lieutenant  general. 

The  Baron  de  Viomenil,  \ 

The  Count  de  Viomenil,  >    major-generals. 

The  Chevalier  de  Chastellux,  ) 

The  latter  discharging  the  functions  of  major-gen- 

De  Beville,  quarter-master  general. 

Tarle,  directing  commissary,  discharging  the  func- 
tions of  steward. 

Blanchard,  chief  commissary. 

Corny,  commissary.  (We  found  him  in  America  : 
he  set  out  for  France  in  the  early  part  of  February, 

Villemanzy,  commissary. 

Gau,  commissary  of  artillerj^ 

D'Aboville,  commandant-in-chief  of  the  artillery. 

Nadal,  director  of  the  park. 

Lazie,  major       "    "     " 


Note  fi-oin  the  originu].  De  Clioisy  did  not  arrive  until  the 
80th  of  Septend)er  ;  he  had  with  him  the  Messrs.  Berthier,  who 
entered  the  staff.  One  of  them  was  afterwards  mareelial  under 


Ch^  D'OgT(^. 
H.  Opterre. 

Coste,  chief  physician. 
Robillard,  chief  surgeon. 

Daure,  steward  of  provisions. 

Demars,  steward  of  the  hospitals. 

There  were  also  some  other  stewards  for  forage,  for 
meat,  etc ;  in  general,  too  many  employees,  especially 
among  the  principals ;  all  that  was  according  to  the 
taste  of  M.  Yeymeranges,  who  had  arranged  the  com- 
position of  our  army  as  to  the  administration,  an  in- 
telligent man,  but  inclined  to  expense  and  luxury  and 
whom  it  was  necessary  to  watch. 

Bouley,  treasurer. 

Messrs.  de  Menonville  and  the  Chevalier  de  Tarle, 
the  brother  of  the  steward,  were  adjutant  generals. 

Messrs.  de  Beville  Jr.  and  CoUot  were  quartermaster 

M.  de  Rochambeau's  aides-de-camp  were  Messrs.  de 
Ferry,  de  Damas,  Charles  Lameth,  Clo.sen,  Dumas, 
Lauberdiere  and  de  Yauban. 


M.  Cromot-Diibourg  who  arrived  a  short  time  after 
us,  was  also  an  aide-de-camp  to  this  general. 

The  Messrs.  de  Viomenil  also  had  several  of  them, 
among  whom  were  Messrs.  de  Chabannes,  de  Pange,  d' 
Olonne,  etc. 

Those  of  M.  de  Chastellux  were,  Montesquieu  (grand- 
son of  the  president)  and  Lynch,  an  Irishman. 
Regiment  of  Bourbounois. 
The  Marquis  de  Laval. 
The  Viscount  de  Rochambeau,  in  2d. 

Royal  Deux  Fonts. 
Messrs.  De  Deux  Fonts,  brothers. 

M.  Custine. 
The  Viscount  de  Charlus  (son  of  M.  de  Castries). 

M.  de  Saint  Mesme. 
The  Viscount  de  Noailles. 

Lauzwis  Legion . 
The  Duke  de  Lauzun. 
M.  de  Dillon. 

It  is  known  that  M.  de  La  Fayette  was  not  attached 
to  our  army,  any  more  than  M.  Du  Fortail ;  they 
served  with  the  American   troops.     We   had  in   our 


army  two  officers  who  had  served  among  the  Ameri- 
cans with  distinction,  M.  Fleury,  major  of  Saintonge, 
and  Mandait.  adjutant  of  the  artillery. 

On  the  29th,  a  score  of  savages  arrived  at  Newport; 
part  of  them  were  Iroquois.  Some  others  came  from 
a  village  called  the  Fall  of  St.  Louis  (situated  in  the 
environs  of  Albany),  which  is  Catholic,  as  they  asked 
to  hear  mass,  on  arriving.  Among  them  was  a  mu- 
hatto,  who  had  served  with  the  Americans  ;  he  spoke 
French  and  they  called  him  Captain  Louis.  There 
was  also  a  German  who  had  lived  among  them  since 
he  was  twelve  years  old.  The  only  clothing  which 
these  savages  had  was  a  blanket  in  which  they  wrapped 
themselves  ;  they  had  no  breeches.  Their  complexion 
is  olive,  they  have  their  ears  gashed  and  their  faces 
daubed  with  red.  There  were  some  handsome  men 
among  them  and  some  tall  old  men  of  respectable  ap- 
pearance. We  also  remarked  two  young  persons  at 
least  five  feet  ten  inches  high,  and  one  of  them  with 
a  very  agreeable  physiognomy ;  some  of  them,  never- 
theless, were  small.  These  savages,  for  a  long  time 
friendly  to  the  French  and  who,  in  speaking  of  the 
king  of  France,  called  him  our  father,  complimented 
M.  de  Rochambeau,  who  received  them  very  kindly 
and  gave  them  some  presents,  among  otlier  things 
some   red   blankets   which    had   been   greatly  recom- 


mended  to  us  at  our  departure  from  Brest.  He  told 
them  that  many  of  their  neighbors,  deceived  by  the 
English,  had  made  war  upon  the  Americans,  who,  they 
had  told  them,  were  our  enemies,  that,  on  the  contrary, 
they  were  our  friends  and  that  we  came  to  defend  them, 
and  that  they  would  pursue  a  course  of  conduct  agree- 
able to  their  fither  if  they  would  act  in  the  same 
way  and  make  war  upon  the  English ;  he  urged  them 
to  remember  this  discourse  well  and  to  repeat  it  to 
their  neighbors.  They  dined  that  day  with  him  at 
his  quarters.  I  saw  them  at  table  for  an  instant,  they 
behaved  themselves  well  there  and  ate  cleanly  enough. 
In  the  afternoon  the  troops  v\^ere  shown  to  them,  w4io 
manoeuvred  and  went  through  the  firing  exercise ; 
they  showed  no  surprise,  but  seemed  to  be  pleased  with 
this  exhibition.  On  the  next  da}'  they  dined  on  board 
of  the  Due  de  Bourgogne,  In  the  evening  they  were 
persuaded  to  dance ;  their  singing  is  monotonous,  they 
interrupted  it  with  sharp  and  disagreeable  cries.  In 
singing,  they  beat  time  with  two  little  bits  oi  wood. 
In  dancing,  they  content  themselves  with  bending  the 
hams  without  taking  any  steps;  there  is  no  jumping, 
no  springing;  they  reminded  me  of  those  peasants  in 
my  province  when  they  tread  the  grapes  in  the  wine- 
press ;  the  movement  which  they  then  make  resem- 
bles the  dance  of  these  savages.     They  went  away  on 


the  second  of  September.  Some  other  tribes  of  Catholic 
savages  had  asked  us  for  a  priest;  we  sent  them  a 
Capuchin  who  was  chaphiin  ol"  one  of  the  vessels. 

September,  1780.  We  perceived  after  the  early  part 
of  this  month  that  the  heat  had  considerably  abated. 
I  caused  a  fire  to  be  lit  on  the  second  of  September, 
in  the  evening,  and  I  was  not  the  only  one  ;  we  began 
to  have  fogs  and  heavy  rains.  On  the  Gth,  the  Vis- 
count de  Noailles  and  M.  de  Dillon  fought ;  the  cause 
of  the  quarrel  does  not  deserve  to  be  mentioned. 

On  the  7th,  I  dined  on  board  of  the  Conquerant, 
where  I  had  not  appeared  since  our  arrival ;  I  was 
very  kindly  received  there. 

On  the  8th,  there  was  a  very  great  rain  in  the 
morning;  in  the  afternoon  the  weather  improved. 
We  then  had  about  five  hundred  sick,  and  among 
them  a  great  number  attacked  by  dysentery,  this 
disease  has  been  prevalent  lor  fifteen  days  without 
appearing  to  be  dangerous. 

From  the  9th,  to  the  lltli,  fine  weather,  and  even 
warm.  On  the  11th,  there  was  a  council  of  adminis- 
tration. The  tone  which  prevailed  at  it  w^as  not 
pleasant.     I  preserved  profound  silence  at  it. 

On  the  12th,  I  was  at  Providence  with  M.  Corte, 
the  chief  physician  ;  it  was  cloudy  and  we  had  rain. 
In  the  afternoon,  w^e   observed  a  plant  which  is  very 


common  in  the  country.  The  botanists  call  it  Race- 
miis  Ainencana ;  in  France,  it  is  found  only  in  the 
gardens  of  ihe  botanists.  We  saw  no  other  peculiar 
plant  anywhere  else,  but  much  wild  chickory  and 
sorrel  thorn. 

I  found  our  hospital  at  Providence  in  very  good 
order;  we  had  then  340  sick  there,  and  we  had  a  few 
more  than  200  at  Newport,  which  made  the  sick 
amount  to  a  tenth  part  of  the  army. 

On  the  loth,  it  was  warm  in  the  morning,  but  there 
was  rain  in  the  evening  and  during  the  night.  To- 
day I  walked  much  through  the  city  ;  I  especially 
visited  the  temple  which  is  pretty  large,  although 
built  of  wood;  it  is  very  clean,  i  also  ascended  the 
steeple,  which,  like  all  of  them  in  America,  is  over- 
loaded with  carvings  and  ornaments,  painted  with 
different  colors  ;  it  is  likewise  entirely  of  wood. 

On  the  14th,  we  had  rain  until  nine  in  the  morn- 
ing ;  the  remainder  of  the  day  was  clear.  I  profited 
by  it  to  walk  alone  in  the  woods  and  upon  the  hills 
with  which  the  city  of  Providence  is  surrounded ; 
these  solitary  walks  have  always  been  agreeable  to  me. 

On  the  15th,  rain  in  the  morning,  line  weather  in 
the  afternoon.^ 

I  I  often  make  tliese  reiuarks  al)out  tlie  weather,  tlie  rain,  the 
heat  and  the  eohl,  wliicli  sei've  to  make  tlie  climate  of  a  conntry 


This  same  clay,  the  loth,  I  was  invited  to  a  party 
in  the  country  to  which  I  went.  It  was  a  sort  of 
pic-nic  given  by  a  score  of  men  to  a  company  of 
ladies.  The  purpose  of  this  party  was  to  eat  a  turtle, 
weighing  three  or  four  hundred  pounds,  which  an 
American  vessel  had  just  brought  from  one  of  our 
islands.  This  meat  did  not  seem  to  me  to  be  very 
palatable  ;  it  is  true  that  it  was  badly  cooked.  There 
were  some  quite  handsome  women ;  before  dinner 
they  kept  themselves  in  a  different  room  from  the  men, 
they  also  placed  themselves  at  table  all  on  the  same 
side,  and  the  men,  on  the  other.  They  danced  after 
dinner  to  the  music  of  some  instruments  of  Lauzun's 
legion,  which  had  been  brought  there  expressly. 
Neither  the  men  nor  the  ^vomen  dance  well ;  all  stretch 
out  and  lengthen  their  arms  in  a  way  far  from  agreeable. 
I  found  myself  at  table  very  near  a  captain  of  an 
American  frigate,  whom  I  had  seen  at  Nantes.  I  per- 
ceived to-day  whilst  trying  to  converse  with  the  ladies, 
that  I  still  was  very  little  accustomed  to  the  English 
lano;Liao;e.     Durino-  dinner  we  drank  different  healths, 

knoM-n.  Siiict'  my  rctiini  to  Fi-:im-c  li:i\iiiL:,-  seen  sonu'  per- 
sons wlio  wisliL'd  to  [irocL'i'd  t(»  AiiK-ru-i,  I  liavr  coiiuiuinicatL^d 
tliese  notes  to  them,  ami  tliey  ha\i'  told  me  that  tliey  ha\e  de- 
rived more  profit  from  tliem  tlian  from  vauue  descri})tions,  often 
embellished  or  exaggei-ated. 


as  is  usual,  we  to  those  of  the  Americans,  and  they 
to  the  health  of  the  king  of  France.  This  extended 
to  everybody ;  for  on  passing  through  an  anteroom, 
where  some  negro  servants  were  drinking,  I  heard 
them  drinking  together  the  health  of  the  king  of 

On  the  18th,  M.  de  Rochambeau  and  the  Chevalier 
de  Ternay  started  for  Hartford,  in  Connecticut,  whither 
General  Washington  was  to  repair  on  his  side  for  the 
purpose  of  concerting  together,  for  it  was  time  for  them 
to  think  of  making  some  use  of  our  troops,  who  had 
required  some  indulgence  on  their  arrival  but  ought 
not  to  remain  useless  forever. 

On  the  19th,  we  learnt  that  Admiral  Rodney,  who 
had  been  for  a  long  time  in  the  West  Indies,  had  just 
appeared  upon  the  coasts  of  America.  This  news  sur- 
prised us  and  made  us  uneasy.  We  did  not  know 
whether  he  was  followed  by  M.  de  Guichen,  who  had 
been  a  long  while  at  sea.  Rodney  joined  to  Arbuthnot, 
ought  to  have  about  24  vessels,  most  of  them  of  three 
decks,  and,  consequently,  he  had  a  force  greatly  su- 
perior to  ours.  However,  they  prepared,  as  well  on 
the  part  of  the  navy  as  of  the  land  forces,  to  repel  the 
enemy.  That  day  we  had  a  council  of  administration 
at  the  quarters  of  M.  the  Baron  de  Viomenil,  which 
went  oft'  very  well. 


On  the  20th  and  21st,  they  continued  to  make  ar- 
rangements for  putting  themselves  in  a  state  of  defense. 
I  went  over  the  ishind  to  ascertain  if  there  were  not 
some  pieces  of  ground  suitable  for  pastures  for  the 
horses,  for  whom  we  feared  that  we  should  be  in  want 
of  forage ;  I  continued  my  search  on  the  22d,  Saint 
Maurice's  day  (the  patron  of  the  Cathedral  of  Angers) . 

On  the  23d  our  preparations  for  defense  in  case  of 
attack  were  continued  with  success  ;  and  the  longer 
the  English  delayed,  the  more  difficult  the  attack  be- 
came for  them.  It  was  fine  weather  and  even  very 

On  the  24th,  our  military  and  naval  generals  arrived. 
They  had  had  an  interview  with  General  Washington, 
from  whom  they  returned  enchanted  :  an  easy  and 
noble  bearing,  extensive  and  correct  views,  the  art  of 
making  himself  beloved,  these  are  what  all  who  saw 
him  observed  in  him.  It  is  his  merit  which  has  de- 
fended the  liberty  of  America,  and  if  she  enjoys  it  one 
day,  it  is  to  him  alone  that  she  will  be  indebted  for  it.^ 

Nothing  new  until  the  30th.  This  day,  the  frigate 
La  GentiUe,  coming   from  the  cape,    arrived  at  New- 

I  "  I  wrote  this  in  1780.  The  event  lias  sliow  n  liow  i-iulit  I  was  : 
It  is  to  3Ir.  Washington's  t-onrage,  to  his  love  for  his  countiy 
and  to  his  ])ru<lence  that  the  Anierieans  owt.^  their  sncct'ss.  Tie 
lias  never  lieen  inconsistent,  never  disconrageil.  Amidst  suc-- 
cess  as  amidst  reverses,  he  was  always  calm,  always  the  same  ; 


port;  it  brought  M.  de  Choisy  and  some  other  officers 
appointed  to  our  army  ;  they  had  left  France  on  the 
25th  of  June  on  a  frigate  which  proceeded  to  Cape 
Saint  Domingo,  where  they  reembarked  for  Newport. 
They  informed  us  that  Monsieur  de  Guichen  had  re- 
turned to  Europe  with  a  considerable  convoy,  and  that 
he  had  left  Monsieur  de  Guichen  ^  with  only  ten  ves- 

On  the  same  day  we  learnt  the  infamous  plot  and 
treason  of  Arnold,  an  American  general.  It  was  dis- 
covered because  M.  Andre,  major-general  of  Clinton's 
army,  with  whom  Arnold  was  in  correspondence  and 
who  had  come  to  the  American  arm}-,  was  captured.  Ar- 
nold, who  knew  it,  immediately  went  to  New  York  ; 
his  project  was  to  deliver  West  Point,  an  important 
post  upon  the  North  river,  and  the  loss  of  which 
would  have  interruj^ted  the  communication  between 
the  northern  provinces  and  those  of  the  south.  Up  to 
this  time  this  Arnold  had  behaved  like  a  hero,  and  had 
made  a  body  of  6000  Englishmen  lay  down  their  arms. 
October,  1780.  On  the  1st  of  October,  M.  de  La 
Luzerne,    the   minister   plenipotentiary   of  France  to 

aiul  his  jiersonal  (jualities  liave  doiu'  iiioiv  to  kc-ep  soldiers  in  tlie 
American  army  and  to  procure  partisans  to  tlie  cause  of  liherty 
than  the  decrees  of  the  congress." — JSTotc  from  the  MS. 

'  This  repetition  of  the  name  appears  to  he  a  slip  of  the  pen. 


Philadelphia,  arrived  at  Newport  to  see  M.  de  Ro- 
chambeau  ;  he  had  stopped  at  (General  Washington's 
camp,  with  whom  he  might  have  been  captured,  if 
the  plot  which  I  have  just  nientioned  had  not  been 
discovered  ;  in  the  evening  there  was  a  council  of  ad- 
ministration at  which  M.  de  La  Luzerne  was  present. 

On  the  2d,  there  was  a  feint  of  a  descent;  it  was 
very  fine  weather,  even  warm,  although  the  mornings 
and  evenings  were  cold,  sufficiently  so  to  require  a 
fire.  I  had  not  until  this  day  some  letters  from 
France,  l^rought  for  me  by  the  frigate  La  GentiUe.  It 
is  the  first  time  in  five  months  that  I  had  news  of  my 
family,  having  started  on  the  second  of  May.  My 
brother  informed  me  of  the  death  of  my  nephew  Ro- 
main,  ^  a  naval  guard,  who  had  gone  to  sea.  I  great- 
ly regretted  this  J'oung  man,  of  a  fine  figure,  and  who 
gave  promise  of  talents. 

I  also  learnt  that  a  vessel,  fitted  out  at  Brest  by  M. 
Gaudelet,  laden  with  provisions  and  merchandise, 
which  could  have  been  disposed  of  to  the  advantage 
of  our  army,  had  arrived  at  the  cape  (Saint  Domingo), 
and,  for  want  of  an  escort,  was  unable  to  reach 
Newport ;  it  is  a  pity,  the  merchandise  would  have 
brought  three  hundred  per  cent. 

'  Tlie  Count  <k'  Uomaiu,  tlu'  brotlu'i-  of  thi>  young  )u:in,   wa 
a  fellow-student  of  Xapoleon  at  La  Fere. 


On  the  3d,  I  again  received  letters  which  had  been 
left  on  board  of  the  frigate  and  forgotten.  One  of 
them  was  from  my  wife,  dated  the  7th  of  May,  written 
only  five  days  after  our  departure.  It  gave  me  plea- 
sure none  the  less. 

On  the  4th  and  5th,  cold,  wind  and  rain. 

On  the  7tli,  another  pretended  attack,  when  the 
American  troops  played  their  part  and  manoeuvred 
very  well.  Ice  was  seen  for  the  first  time.  In  the 
evening  a  kind  of  tempest  occasioned  damage  to  the 
merchantmen  in  port  and  overturned  a  large  number 
of  tents  in  camp. 

On  the  8 til,  M.  de  Tarle,  with  whom  I  was  living, 
gave  a  dinner  to  M.  de  La  Luzerne  and  the  generals. 

Nothing  remarkable  on  the  subsequent  days. 

We  learnt  that  Andre,  that  English  officer,  who  had 
disguised  himself  to  communicate  with  the  traitor, 
Arnold,  and  who  had  been  captured  by  the  Americans, 
had  been  put  to  death.  General  Washington  having 
treated  him  as  a  spy. 

On  the  14th,  M.  Holker,  the  consul  of  France  at 
Philadelphia,  a  man  of  intelligence  and  great  ability, 
arrived  at  Newport.  A  council  of  administration  was 
held,  in  which  it  was  resolved  that  I  should  proceed 
to  Providence,  to  try  to  procure  wood  for  the  army, 
which   began   to  be  in  want  of  it.     There    was  none 


upon  the  island  of  Rhode  Island,  where  the  Enghsh, 
who  had  occupied  it  for  some  time,  had  destroyed  all. 
On  the  15th,  I  started  for  Providence,  as  had  been 
ordered,  but  having  commenced  my  journey  late,  I  lay 
at  Warren  and  did  not  reach  Providence  until  the 
next  day.  I  was  at  Patuxet  on  the  same  day,  a  vil- 
lage a  league  from  Providence.  Then  I  went  through 
a  neighboring  forest,  where  there  were  some  portions 
of  wood  for  cutting,  which  they  proposed  to  us  to  have 
cut.  This  forest  was  pleasant ;  not  very  far  from  the 
place  where  they  proposed  to  us  to  cut  is  a  pond 
which  reminded  me  of  a  similar  site  in  the  vicinitj^  of 
Nantes.  On  the  17th,  I  returned  to  the  forest ;  it 
was  very  cold,  with  a  clear  sky  and  sunshine.  During 
the  succeeding  days  I  continued  to  be  employed  about 
my  cutting,  and  I  succeeded  in  making  a  bargain  with 
Mr.  Harris,  the  owner  of  these  woods.  I  attended 
also  to  the  means  of  collecting  forage,  which  was  not 
easy  at  that  season.  They  set  about  it  too  late.  Be- 
sides, the  Americans  are  slow  and  do  not  decide 
promptly  in  matters  of  business.  It  is  not  easy  for  us 
to  rely  upon  their  promises.  They  love  money  and 
hard  monej' ;  it  is  thus  that  they  designate  specie  to 
distinguish  it  from  paper  money,  which  loses  prodi- 
giously. This  loss  varies  according  to  circumstances 
and  according  to  the  provinces.     Whilst  I  am  writing, 


at  Providence  and  Newport  it  loses  sixty  for  one ;  that  is 
to  say,  a  silver  piaster  is  worth  sixty  paper  piasters. 
Bills  of  exchange  upon  France,  even  that  of  the  trea- 
surer of  the  army  upon  the  treasurer-general  at  Paris, 
lose  25  per  cent  at  Philadelphia,  as  well  as  at  Boston, 
owing  to  the  scarcity  of  silver.  The  Americans  at 
present  owe  much  money  in  France,  and  they  ought 
easily  to  find  bills  of  exchange  to  pay  it.^  I  speak  of 
this  paper  money  because  we  were  beginning  to  make 
use  of  it  in  our  army  to  pay  some  daily  expenses,  but 
only  to  the  people  of  the  country  ;  we  should  have 
begun  with  it  to  spare  our  ready  money,  with  which, 
unfortunately,  our  chest  was  not  well  supplied. 

We  were  unable  to  make  use  of  this  paper  money 
long,  because  it  fell  completely,  and  no  human  power 
could  have  been  able  to  raise  it  a^ain. 

On  the  20th  and  21st,  alternationsof  cold  and  heat. 
At  present,  there  are  not  more  than  three  hundred 
sick,  many  of  whom  are  suftering  from  the  remains  of 
the  scurvy.  I  have  also  mentioned  the  dysenteries 
which  began  to  prevail  a  month  ago,  but  they  have 
not  proved  fatal.  I  cannot  avoid  remarking  that  this 
disease,  which  made  so  much  havoc  in  France  in  1779, 
and  especially  in  Brittany  and  Normandy,  was  equally 

'  Tliey  were  not  tlieii  in  a  condition  to  ])ay,  or  eltse  they  did 
not  care  about  it. 


fatal  in  this  part  of  America  in  which  we  are  dw^elling  ; 
it  is  singular  enough  that  an  epidemical  complaint 
should  be  prevalent  at  the  same  time  in  places  so  dis- 
tant and  separated  by  the  sea. 

On  the  22d  and  23d,  fine  weather.  Three  good 
English  prizes,  captured  by  an  American  privateer. 
The  news  was  then  circulated  of  the  capture  of  Jamaica 
and  of  a  considerable  fleet  belonging  to  the  English 
and  on  its  way  to  the  Indies. 

On  the  24th,  I  took  into  the  forest  where  I  had 
bought  wood,  fifty  soldiers  who  had  been  sent  to  me 
to  cut  it.  The  next  day  1  went  to  see  them  at  work ; 
this  business  interested  me.  I  love  the  woods.  I  was, 
in  some  sort,  alone,  far  from  the  world.  I  mounted  a 
horse  and  led  the  life  of  a  man  upon  his  estate. 

On  the  26th,  I  again  returned  to  see  my  laborers, 
in  the  most  beautiful  weather.  Mr.  Harris,  wdiom  I 
met,  showed  me  an  orchard,  in  which  he  said  that  his 
father  had  been  killed  by  the  savages,  which  proves 
that  it  w^as  not  a  great  while  ago  when  they  were  in 
these  districts.  Patuxet  and  Papisquash,  villages  and 
hamlets  of  which  I  have  spoken,  are  Indian  names 
that  have  been  preserved. 

On  the  27th,  in  the  morning,  a  thick  fog,  which 
dissipated  at  the  moment  of  an  eclipse  of  the  sun. 


At  11  o'clock  it  was  very  visible,  and  between  noon 
and  one  o'clock  it  was  considerable  enough  to  darken 
the  air.  It  seemed  to  me  that  it  also  became  night 
some  minutes  after  sunset.  M.  de  Gachain,  major  of 
the  squadron,  took  advantage  of  this  eclipse  to  make 
some  observations  upon  the  latitude  and  the  longitude 
of  the  coasts  of  Rhode  Island.  Ke  sent  them  to  the 
Academy  of  Philadelphia ;  he  also  observes  that  these 
points  are  exactly  marked  upon  the  map.  Upon  con- 
sulting an  American  almanac  which  mentioned  this 
eclipse,  I  happened  to  cast  my  eyes  upon  the  list  of 
the  princes  of  Europe.  I  read  of  Louis  XVI,  "  Whom 
God  preserve  ;"  the  same  invocation  upon  the  king  of 
Spain  ;  but  respecting  the  king  of  England,  "  the  san- 
guinary tyrant  "  and  some  words  besides,  the  meaning 
of  which  is,  born  to  dismember  the  British  empire 
and  make  America  independent. 

I  returned  to  Newport  on  the  I^Sth  ;  I  learnt  that 
our  three  frigates  were  gone.  TheAinazoue  returned  to 
France.  It  had  M.  de  Rochambeau's  son  on  board 
and  carried  our  letters. 

November,  1780.  On  the  first,  rain,  wind  and  snow. 
The  regiment  of  Bourbonnois  had  left  the  camp  the 
night  before  and  had  come  to  take  up  its  quarters  in  the 
city  ;  the  other  regiments  came  thither  in  succession, 
that  is  to  say,  they  took  up  their  winter  quarters,  and 


it  appeared  settled  that  our  troops  would  make  no 
movement  before  the  spring. 

From  the  2d  to  the  6th,  I  remained  at  Providence, 
in  cold  weather ;  but  the  sun  shone  and  1  did  not 
cease  to  ride  on  horseback  and  go  to  see  my  laborers 
in  the  wood.  I  also  had  much  to  do  for  Lauzun's 
legion,  which  was  to  proceed  to  Connecticut  to  take 
up  its  winter  quarters,  and  which  passed  through 
Providence.  All  these  details,  elsewhere  very  easy, 
nevertheless  met  with  many  difficulties  among  the 
Americans,  who  dislike  to  lodge  troops  and  who,  as  I 
have  already  mentioned,  are  slow  and  even  mistrustful. 

For  some  days  past  mention  was  made  of  an  advan- 
tage gained  over  the  English  in  Carolina,  by  General 
Smallwood ;  it  was  said  that  he  had  captured  about 
1500  men. 

On  the  9th,  much  snow  fell  and  it  was  very  cold,  as 
was  the  next  day.  Lauzun's  legion  arrived  at  Provi- 
dence to-day;  it  found  everything  that  it  needed. 
The  Duke  de  Lauzun  gave  a  ball,  at  which  I  was 
present  for  a  moment. 

On  the  1 1  th,  the  legion  remained,  the  cold  continued, 
but  it  was  fine  weather  and  the  sun  slione.  I  dined 
with  M.  de  Lauzun. 

On  the  12th,  the  legion  departed.  The  Chevalier 
de  Chastellux  arrived  in  the  morning  ;   he  was  on  his 


way  to  General  Washington's  camp  and  thence  to 
Philadelphia.  I  gave  him  a  dinner  and  we  paid  some 
visits  together.  In  conversing  with  him  respecting  the 
steward,  whom  he  did  not  like  and  of  whom  he  spoke 
ill  to  me,  I  remarked  to  him  how  disagreeable  it  was 
to  our  cloth  and  especially  to  me  to  have  so  mediocre 
an  administrator  for  chief.  He  replied  to  me  that 
when  one  was  more  than  thirty,  it  was  better  for  him 
to  be  the  assistant  of  a  fool  than  of  a  man  of  sense. 
He  departed  the  next  day.  The  ground  was  covered 
with  snow. 

On  the  14th,  a  great  rain.  The  15th,  clear  and 
cold  :  it  is  said  that  the  traitor  Arnold  has  landed  in 
Virginia  with  five  thousand  men. 

On  the  16th,  fog  and  rain.  M.  Beaudouin,  a  lieuten- 
ant-colonel of  Lauzun's  legion,  passed  through  Provi- 
dence to  go  to  and  embark  at  Boston  and  return  to 
France.  I  gave  him  some  letters.  I  go  regularly 
every  day  to  the  forest  where  they  are  busy  about  the 

On  the  17th,  cloudy  weather,  rain  aiid  very  violent 
wind  from  the  north-east. 

On  the  18th  the  same  weather.  Messrs.  de  Laval, 
de  Custine  and  De  Deux  Ponts,  who  were  going  to 
travel  in  the  interior  of  America,  passed  through 


On  the  20th  and  21st,  clear  and  cold.  It  is  to  be 
observed  that  usually  after  one  or  two  days  of  drv 
cold,  snow  and  rain  follow.  The  same  alternation  in 
the  succeeding  days. 

I  already  had  much  wood  cut  and  corded  ;  but  it 
w^as  necessary  to  transport  it  to  the  seaboard,  where 
the  ves.sels  of  the  squadron  had  just  come  in  search  of 
it.  For  that  purpose,  I  hired  vehicles,  but  I  had  great 
difficulty  in  starting  them.  On  the  2'Zd  I  could  not 
procure  a  single  one  on  account  of  the  rain  ;  another 
time  it  was  the  cold  which  prevented  their  going. 
Patience  and  care  are  necessary. 

On  the  23d,  in  tolerably  fine  weather,  I  was  three 
or  four  leagues  from  Providence,  and  I  saw  large  tracts 
of  country  newly  cleared  and  many  houses  recently 
built.  This  district  will  grow  rich  and  become  peopled 
gradually.  T  dined  at  Patuxet  in  the  house  of  M. 
Dourville,  a  Canadian  and  a  lieutenant  in  the  Ame- 
rican navy.  He  had  married  in  this  village  where  he 
was  held  in  esteem ;  he  was  of  great  use  to  me  for  the 
wood-cutting  which  was  entrusted  to  me.  He  had 
been  employed  upon  the  squadron  of  M.  d'Estaing,  and 
M.  de  Ternay  had  also  employed  him  on  his  vessel. 

On  the  24th,  it  was  still  pretty  fine  and  I  mounted 
my  horse  according  to  my  usual  practice.  I  dined  at 
Providence  with  Dr.  Bowen,  a   physician  and  a  re- 


spectable  old  man.  He  said  grace  before  sitting  down 
to  table ;  he  seemed  beloved  and  respected  by  his 
numerous  family  and  had  the  style  and  manners  of  a 
patriarch.  I  also  dined  frequently  at  the  house  of 
Mr.  Bowker,  a  merchant,  born  in  England,  but  for  a 
long  time  settled  in  America.  They  do  not  eat  soups 
and  do  not  serve  up  ragouts  at  these  dinners ;  but 
boiled  and  roast  and  much  vegetables.  They  drink 
nothing  but  cider  and  Madeira  wine  with  water.  The 
dessert  is  composed  of  preserved  quinces  or  pickled 
sorrel.  The  Americans  eat  the  latter  with  the  meat. 
They  do  not  take  coffee  immediately  after  dinner,  but 
it  is  served  three  or  four  hours  afterwards  with  tea; 
this  coffee  is  weak  and  four  or  five  cups  are  not  equal 
to  one  of  ours  ;  so  that  they  take  many  of  them.  The 
tea,  on  the  contrary,  is  very  strong.  This  use  of  tea 
and  coftee  is  universal  in  America.  The  people  who 
live  in  the  country,  tilling  the  ground  and  driving 
their  oxen,  take  it  as  well  as  the  inhabitants  of  the 
cities.  Breakfast  is  an  important  affair  with  them. 
Besides  tea  and  coffee,  they  put  on  table  roasted  meats 
with  butter,  pies  and  ham ;  nevertheless  they  sup  and 
in  the  afternoon  they  again  take  tea.  Thus  the  Ame- 
ricans are  almost  always  at  the  table;  and  as  they 
have  little  to  occupy  them,  as  they  go  out  little  in 
winter  and  spend  whole  days  along  side  of  their  fires 


and  their  wives,  without  reading  and  without  doing 
anything,  going  so  often  to  table  is  a  relief  and  a  pre- 
ventive o^  ennui.     Yet  they  are  not  great  eaters. 

They  are  very  choice  in  cups  and  vases  for  holding 
tea  and  coffee,  in  glasses,  decanters  and  other  matters 
of  this  kind  and  in  habitual  use.  They  make  use  of 
wall-papers  which  serve  for  tapestry  ;  they  have  them 
very  handsome.  In  many  of  the  houses  there  are 
carpets  also,  even  upon  their  stairs.  In  general,  the 
houses  are  verj'  pleasant  and  kept  with  extreme  neat- 
ness, w^ith  the  mechanic  and  the  countryman  as  well 
as  with  the  merchant  and  the  general.  Their  educa- 
tion is  very  nearly  the  same  ;  so  that  a  mechanic  is 
often  called  to  their  assemblies,  where  there  is  no  dis- 
tinction, no  separate  order.  I  have  already  mentioned 
that  the  inhabitants  of  the  entire  country  are  proprie- 
tors. They  till  the  earth  and  drive  their  oxen  them- 
selves. This  way  of  living  and  this  sweet  equality- 
have  charms  for  thinking  beings.  These  manners 
suit  me  pretty  well.  Burning  a  great  quantity  of 
wood  is  one  of  their  luxuries,  it  is  common .  One-half 
of  the  districts  which  I  have  traversed  are  wooded, 
almost  altogether  with  oaks,  among  which  there  are 
some  very  handsome  ones.  Yet  wood  is  very  dear 
owing  to  the  difticulty  of  transporting  it.  It  costs  us 
for  a  leasfue  about  15  livres  a  cord. 


I  have  spoken  of  the  cups,  the  glasses,  the  paper- 
hangmgs,  the  carpets  and  other  articles  in  which  the 
Americans  are  very  choice,  and  which  they  procured 
from  Engh^nd  before  the  war.  It  is  in  this  direction 
that  French  merchants  ought  to  turn  their  attention 
by  trying  to  bring  these  articles  to  perfection,  in  order 
to  accustom  the  Americans  to  dispense  with  the  En- 
glish entirely. 

On  the  24th  and  25th,  rain  and  very  violent  west 
wind  ;  the  26th  to  the  28th,  cold  and  clear  weather. 
I  took  advantage  of  it  to  go  to  Greenwich,  a  small 
town  upon  the  coast,  five  leagues  from  Providence. 
Thence  I  proceeded  to  Coventry,  two  leagues  from 
Greenwich.  General  Greene's  residence  is  there.  He 
is  a  farmer  whose  merit  has  raised  him  to  the  rank  of 
general.  He  was  then  with  the  army  and  possessed 
the  confidence  of  General  Washington  ;  he  has  even 
been  commander-in-chief  of  a  body  of  troops  in  the 
south  ;  one  of  his  brothers,  an  inhabitant  of  the  country, 
had  furnished  the  wagons  for  transporting  the  wood 
which  I  had  caused  to  be  cut,  and  he  drove  them  him- 
self: such  are  the  manners  of  this  part  of  America! 
My  object  was  to  pay  a  visit  to  the  wife  of  General 
Greene,  whom  I  happened  to  see  at  Newport  and  Pro- 
vidence. I  was  accompanied  by  M.  Haake,  a  captain 
in  the  regiment  of  Royal  Deux  Ponts,  and  the  chaplain 


of  the  hospital.  Mrs.  Greene  received  us  very  kindly. 
She  is  amiable,  genteel  and  rather  pretty.  As  there 
was  no  bread  in  her  house,  some  was  hastily  made  ; 
it  was  of  meal  and  water  mixed  together  ;  which  was 
then  toasted  at  the  fire;  small  slices  of  it  were  served 
up  to  us.  It  is  not  much  for  a  Frenchman.  As  for 
the  Americans,  they  eat  very  little  bread.  Besides, 
the  dinner  was  long ;  we  remained  to  sleep  there. 
Mrs.  Greene's  house  is  situated  upon  a  barren  piece  of 
land;  this  site  could  have  been  chosen  only  on  account 
of  the  iron-works  situated  in  the  neighborhood.  There 
is  not  a  single  fruit-tree,  not  even  a  cabbage.  Another 
country-house  is  pretty  near,  inhabited  by  two  ladies, 
who  compose  all  the  society  that  Mrs.  Greene  has  ;  in 
the  evening  she  invited  them  to  her  house,  and  we 
danced ;  I  was  in  boots  and  rather  tired  ;  besides,  the 
English  dances  are  complicated,  so  that  I  acquitted 
myself  badly.     But  these  ladies  were  complaisant. 

On  the  29th  and  the  30th,  I  continued  my  trans- 
portation of  wood,  notwithstanding  the  rain. 

December,  1780.  The  month  opened  with  a  very 
violent  and  very  cold  north  wind. 

On   the   3d,   snow ;   my  friend   M.  de   la  Chese,   an 

officer   of  artillery,    had    come    to    Providence.     We 

mounted  on   horsebacK  together  and   went  to  dine  at 

Patuxet   at  the  house  of  a  miller's  wife,  whose  dress, 



style  of  living  and  furniture  differed  in  no  respect 
from  the  best  that  I  had  seen  in  the  houses  of  the 
richest  Americans. 

On  the  4th,  M.  de  Rochambeau,  who  had  been  to 
Lebanon,  in  Connecticut,  to  visit  the  quarters  of  Lau- 
zun's  legion,  passed  through  Providence  ;  he  lodged 
there.  I  gave  him  aii  account  of  my  works  which  he 
could  not  visit.  He  departed  on  the  5th,  in  the  morn- 
ing. I  had  to  make  some  bargains  for  the  artillery 
and  the  navy  ;  to  the  latter  I  had  already  sent  some 
pieces  suitable  for  building.  On  this  head  I  remark 
that  a  species  of  oak  is  found  in  America  which  was 
very  common  in  France  and  which  is  found  there  no 
longer,  at  least  in  the  provinces  with  which  I  am  ac- 
quainted ;  it  is  the  white  oak,  mentioned  by  M. 
Buffon.  This  white  oak  was  used  in  our  old  carpenter 
works,  for  which  the  chestnut  has  since  been  used. 

From  the  6th  to  the  12th  alternations  of  cold,  snow 
and  rain.  I  do  not  neglect  my  work  in  the  woods  or 
in  the  hospital,  which,  being  remote  from  the  army, 
requires  this  supervision.  Lastly,  one  hundred  and 
twenty  soldiers,  of  different  regiments,  led  only  by  an 
adjutant  and  scattered  through  the  woods  for  my 
labors,  equally  demand  m}^  whole  attention. 

On  the  14th  I  went  to  Newport  by  sea  in  an  Ame- 
rican vessel  which  was  struck  by  a  gale  of  wind  and 


was  nearly  upset ;  we  were  laden  with  wood,  even 
upon  deck.  The  cold  was  very  severe.  M.  the 
Chevalier  de  Ternay,  the  commander-in-chief  of  the 
squadron,  had  been  sick  for  several  days  and  had  just 
been  taken  on  shore  ;  M.  Corte,  our  chief  physician, 
had  been  sent  for,  who  told  us  that  he  found  him  very 

On  the  15th,  M.  de  Ternay  fell  a  victim  to  his  dis- 
ease ;  it  was  putrid  fever.  M.  de  Eochambeau  was 
not  then  at  Newport;  he  had  gone  to  Boston. 

On  the  16th,  fine  weather.  M.  de  Ternay  was  buried 
with  great  pomp  ;  all  the  land  forces  were  under  arms. 

I  returned  to  Providence  on  the  17th.  The  same 
employments  until  the  24th  ;  I  learnt  that  several  of 
our  men  had  received  letters  by  a  vessel  which  had 
arrived  at  Boston  from  Nantes.  These  letters  men- 
tioned reports  of  a  change  of  the  minister  of  the  navy 
(Monsieur  de  Sartine). 

The  2oth,  Christmas-day.  Fog  in  the  morning,  rain 
in  the  evening.  These  observations  upon  the  weather 
prove  that  dry  cold  or  rain  does  not  last  more  than 
two  or  three  days.  They  have  not  here  those  long 
spells  of  cold  weather  with  which  we  are  so  often 
afflicted  in  some  provinces  of  France.  Yet  I  hear  it 
said  that,  last  year,  at  the  same  period,  the  sea  was 
frozen  from  Newport  to  Providence,  that  is  to  say  for 


a  distance  of  ten  leagues,  and  as  broad  as  the  Loire 
above  Nantes.  On  this  day  we  had  lightning  and  a 
little  thunder. 

On  the  27th,  the  sea  began  to  freeze  in  the  channel 
from  Providence  to  Newport,  and  it  would  have  done 
so  entirely  but  for  the  violence  of  the  wind,  which 
agitated  the  water.  It  was  Saint  John's  day,  a  great 
festival  for  the  free-masons.  There  was  a  meeting  of 
them  at  Providence  ;  it  was  announced  in  the  public 
papers,  for  societies  of  this  sort  are  authorized.^  I  met 
in  the  streets  of  Providence  a  company  of  these  free- 
masons, going  two  by  two,  holding  each  other's  hands, 
all  dressed  with  their  aprons  and  preceded  by  two  men 
who  carried  long  staves.  He  who  brought  up  the  rear 
and  who  was  probably  the  master  had  two  brethren 
alongside  of  him  and  all  three  wore  ribbons  around 
their  necks  like  ecclesiastics  who  have  the  blue  ribbon. 

On  the  28th,  the  Count  de  Viomenil  and  the  Vis- 
count Mesme  came  to  lodge  at  Providence,  and  set 
out  the  next  morning  for  Boston.  Our  army  remain- 
ing inactive,  they  take  advantage  of  it  to  travel  and 
become  acquainted  with  the  country. 

On  the  31st  I  finished  the  cutting  of  my  wood.     My 

'  "  Authorized!  This  note  is  truly  Fi-encli.  Why  authorized  ? 
Those  societies,  from  that  time  were  simjily  free  in  America. 
With  us  tliey  aiv  still  only  authorized."' —  Frnm  fhr  M!S. 


bargain  was  for  two  thousand  cords.  I  was  very  busy 
during  these  last  days  of  the  year.  I  paid  the  soldiers 
who  had  worked  under  me,  and  supplied  them  with 
the  means  of  returning  to  Newport.  Yet  I  kept  some 
of  them  for  another  cutting  of  wood  which  I  was  about 
to  undertake. 

January,  1781.  It  was  clear,  the  wind  was  from 
the  south-west,  the  same  weather  continued  on  the 
subsequent  days.  At  this  period  there  was  a  very 
warm  quarrel  at  Boston  between  the  sailors  of  an 
American  frigate,  the  Alliance,  and  those  of  the  8ur- 
veillante,  a  French  frigate.  The  Americans  were  the 
aggressors  ;  two  were  killed.  The  two  sailors  who 
were  killed  were  discovered  to  be  Englishmen,  in  the 
American  service,  which  aided  in  appeasing  the  quar- 

On  the  5th,  I  made  two  new  bargains  for  wood. 

On  the  6th,  Twelfth  Night,  [jour  des  Eois]  the 
ATiiericans  had  no  rejoicing,  no  festivity. 

On  the  7th,  melted  snow  and  rain ;  on  the  8th, 
wind  from  the  north  and  sudden  cold,  very  sharp.  I 
saw  the  Chevalier  de  Chastellux,  who  was  returning 
from  his  journey,  with  which  he  appeared  satisfied. 
He  told  me  that  the  Academy  of  Philadelphia  had 
chosen  him  an  associate  member;  that  he  had  col- 
lected some  notes  respecting  the  American  revolution, 


that  be  would  not  content  himself  with  mere  observa- 
tions, and  that  be  would  publish  a  complete  work.^ 

From  the  lOtb  to  the  20tb  changeable  weather. 
Monsieur  de  Rochambeau  had  caused  a  large  hall  to 
be  constructed  for  the  purpose  of  assembling  a  large 
number  of  officers  therein  in  the  evening,  to  afford 
them  recreation  ;  they  began  to  frequent  it  about  this 

On  the  23d,  the  revolt  of  a  body  of  American  troops 
in  Pennsylvania  was  spoken  of;  on  the  26th,  M.  de 
Rochambeau  received  a  letter  from  General  Washing- 
ton which  informed  him  of  the  quieting  of  this  rebel- 

On  the  28th,  at  Providence,  where  I  still  was,  I  saw 
General  Knox,  who  commanded  the  American  artillery 
and  who  had  acquired  reputation.  He  was  a  printer 
and  bookseller.  He  is  a  man  of  from  thirty-five  to 
forty  years  of  age,  of  a  very  handsome  figure  ;  he  spent 
two  days  at  Newport. 

General  Lincoln  also  came  to  see  our  troops  ;  he  had 
with  him  Mr.  Laurens,  the  son  of  a  president  of  the 

'  "  1  do  not  i>ei-ceive  that  lie  has  ke])t  his  promise.  He  has 
had  the  account  of  ]iis  journey  printed  in  two  A'ohtmes,  and  some 
agreeable  details  are  to  he  found  in  it,  hut  many  trifling  matters, 
mediocre  pleasantries  and  eulogiums,  often  but  little  deserved, 
of  persons  who  had  flattered  him.  Brissot  de  Warville  has 
sharply  criticised  this  work." — JVote  from  MS. 


congress,  who  had  been  captured  by  the  English  wliilst 
on  his  way  to  Europe,  and  was  still  detained  in  the 
Tower  of  London.  I  supped,  next  day,  with  them  and 
General  Greene's  wife,  of  whom  I  have  s[)oken  above. 

Fehruary,  1781.  M.  de  Corny,  the  commissary,  was 
preparing  to  depart  for  France,  on  board  of  the  Alli- 
ance, an  American  frigate  which  also  took  Mr.  Lau- 
rens to  Europe.  I  forwarded  many  letters  to  M.  de 
Corny,  especially  for  M.  de  Yeymeranges  and  for  my 
relation  M.  de  Saint-James,  the  treasurer-general  of 
the  navy.  This  M.  de  Corny,  a  man  of  intelligence, 
but  intriguing  and  greedy,  was  going  away  because 
there  was  nothing  for  him  to  do.  Nevertheless,  his 
stay  in  America,  short  as  it  has  l^een,  has  not  impaired 
his  fortune. 

On  the  2d,  Messrs.  de  Laval  and  de  Custine  returned 
from  a  long  journe}^  which  they  had  taken  in  the  in- 
terior of  America.  They  confirmed  the  news  which 
had  been  spread  that  the  CuUoden,  an  English  ship  of 
94  guns,  had  been  cast  upon  the  coast  by  a  violent 
gale  of  wind  and  had  been  lost.  Two  other  English 
ships  had  been  dismasted  and  damaged,  so  that,  at 
this  moment,  the  English  squadron  was  reduced  to  six 

Fehruary.  On  the  3d,  I  gave  a  dinner  to  Mrs.  Greene 
and  to  Mrs.  Carter,  and  also  to  Messrs.  de  Viomenil 


and  Chastellux.  For  some  days  past  I  no  longer 
boarded  with  the  steward,  and  I  had  procured  a  cook. 
I  then  kept  house,  at  our  johit  expense,  with  M.  de 
la  Cheze,  an  officer  of  artillery,  a  gentleman,  a  deep 
gamester,  a  skillful  and  successful  gamester,  and  also 
generous  and  enjoying  life. 

We  now  have  snow  and  hail  nearly  every  day. 

On  the  6th,  I  went  to  Providence  and  on  horseback, 
although  the  roads  were  very  slippery  owing  to  the 
snow  which  the  cold  had  condensed.  So  we  met 
many  sleighs,  in  which  people  were  going  on  parties 
of  pleasure  or  on  business. 

On  the  7th,  M.  de  Jumecourt,  an  officer  of  artillery, 
and  M.  Pisangon,  my  secretary,  both  very  zealous  free- 
masons, conferred  on  me  the  grade  of  apprentice,  and 
in  the  evening  I  was  at  an  American  lodge  where  I 
was  present  at  two  receptions.  I  was  then  nearly  39 
years  old.     This  was  beginning  rather  late. 

From  the  8th  to  the  loth,  snow  and  cold  ;  on  the 
13th  I  got  into  a  sleigh  and  went  twelve  miles  in  this 
conveyance,  wdiich  is  easy  and  very  pleasant.  They 
go  very  quickly.  I  returned  from  Patuxet  to  Provi- 
dence (five  miles)  in  80  minutes.  I  dinedatthehouseof 
Mr.  Flint,  an  American,  where  I  learnt  much  news  : 
that  the  Eveille,  a  ship  of  our  squadron,  had  just  gone, 
with  two  frigates  and  the  cutter,    upon  a  special  ex- 


pedition  ;  that  an  American  regiment  of  New  Jersey 
had  imitated  this  revolt  of  the  Pennsylvania  troops, 
but  that  the  sedition  had  Ijeen  quickly  suppressed  ;  two 
of  the  principal  leaders  had  been  put  to  death. 

On  the  18th,  being  at  Newport,  M.  de  Custine  who, 
as  I  have  mentioned,  had  just  returned  from  traveling 
in  the  interior  of  America,  showed  me  his  journal  and 
the  results  of  his  observations.  This  journal  seemed 
to  me  to  be  very  wise  and  judicious. 

He  agreed,  as  I  have  remarked,  that  the  virtues  of 
General  Washington  had  been  the  strongest  support 
of  liberty.  He  had  found  the  country  moderately 
fertile,  a  point  of  view  respecting  which  1  questioned 
him  :  what  I  have  seen  of  it  makes  me  think  the 
same;  in  the  vicinity  of  our  army  none  is  found  fer- 
tile except  upon  the  banks  of  a  river  which  waters 
Connecticut,  from  which  we  derive  the  greater  part  of 
our  supplies  of  provisions. 

On  the  19th,  we  learnt  tliat  the  English  had  been 
defeated  by  General  Morgan  in  South  Carolina.  The 
Americans  had  behaved  very  well  in  this  affair,  in 
which  they  had  charged  with  fixed  bayonets.  The 
account  which  the  American  general  gave  of  this  bat- 
tle was  very  well  done.  The  English  had  one  thou- 
sand men,  of  regular  troops,  two  hundred  of  whom 
were  dragoons.  The  Americans  had  only  eight  hun- 


dred.  We  cannot  conceive  how  regular  troops  and 
they  superior  in  numbers  allowed  themselves  to  be 
beaten  by  peasants  ;  they  were  utterly  routed ;  the 
Americans  took  29  officers  and  500  soldiers  prisoners, 
they  captured  ihe  baggage  and  a  large  number  of 
horses,  two  cannons  and  two  tiags.  Although  this 
news  reaches  us  by  an  extraordinary  courier,  we  do 
not  receive  it  until  a  month  after  the  event. 

On  the  24th,  during  a  very  strong  wind,  we  per- 
ceived four  large  vessels  pretty  near  to  the  shore. 
These  vessels  came  in  at  eight  o'clock.  They  were 
the  Eveille,  which  went  out  a  few  days  before,  and 
the  two  frigates  ;  they  brought  with  them  the  Romulus, 
an  English  ship  of  fifty  guns,  which  they  had  captured 
in  Chesapeake  bay.  They  had  also  taken  nine  pri- 
vateers and  other  small  vessels,  which  they  had  burnt 
or  left  at  York,  a  little  port  belonging  to  the  Ameri- 
cans. But  they  had  been  unable  to  rejoin  Arnold,  on 
board  of  some  vessels  which  had  withdrawn  towards 
the  coasts  of  Virginia  into  some  rivers  which  the 
Eveille  could  not  enter. 

On  the  24th,  in  consequence,  I  believe,  of  intelli- 
gence furnished  by  General  Washington,  orders  were 
given  to  the  grenadiers  and  chasseurs  to  hold  them- 
selves in  readiness  to  start.  This  order  was  counter- 
manded the  next  day,  but  I  learnt  that  an  expedition 


was  in  preparation,  of  which  I  was  to  form  part,  and  I 
had  to  busy  myself  about  it  all  the  subsequent  days. 

We  learnt  on  the  27tli  that  the  Astre^e,  a  French 
frig  ite  of  fort}^  guns,  commanded  by  M.  de  la  Perouse,^ 
had  just  arrived  at  Boston  after  a  passage  of  03  days, 
having  left  Brest  on  the  24th  of  December.  During 
the  evening  of  the  28th,  we  received  letters  brought 
by  this  vessel.  I  received  good  news  from  my  wife, 
my  children  and  all  my  friends  ;  it  is  not  without 
trembling  that  I  open  their  letters  at  this  distance. 
M.  de  Montbarrey  (minister  of  war)  was  succeeded 
by  M.  de  Segur.  Besides,  there  was,  I  was  informed, 
an  infinite  amount  of  intrigue  at  the  court. 

The  well  known  navis^ator. 



Arrival  of  freneral  WasJiiiif/fon  at  JVeicport — Emharl-otion  of 
a  Body  of  Troops  on  hoard  of  the  ISqiiadron — 31.  BJancJi- 
ard  is  Part  of  it —  JVaval  Ejujageuient  in  Chesapeake  Bay  — 
The  Army  commences  its  JSIarch  to  form  a  Junction  with 
the  Am(ric(in.-<  —  J/.  Bh rn da ird  precedes  it  —  He  passes 
through  Prnridmre,  Water  man- Tavern,  Plainfehf  Wind- 
ham, Bolton,  Hartford,  Farminyton,  Baron-Tavern,  Break- 
7ieck,  Keirtiui-n,  Peekskill-Landiny — Sojotmi  at  General 
Washinyton's  Camp  at  Peekskill  —  Mardi  of  the  Too 
Armies  against  Xev:)  York —  Camps  of  Kort/n-astJe  eind 
PJiillijishury  —  Character  of  Genered  de  BocJuanheaK  —  The 
iSqiKidron  if  Grasse  is  announced — the  two  Armies 
tnovt  to  suj>jiort  it. 

March,  1781.  From  the  1st  to  the  4th,  arrangements 
continued  to  be  made  for  the  proposed  embarkation, 
which  was  postponed,  notwithstanding. 

On  the  4th,  a  captain  of  the  regiment  of  Saintonge, 
named  Laforest,  held  in  esteem  in  his  corps,  to  whom 
M.  de  Custine  bad  addressed  some  language  for  which 
he  had  in  vain  demanded  justice,  killed  himself  in 
despair.  This  event,  which  was  known  a  moment  be- 
fore the  parade,  created  great  excitement  there.  M. 
de  Custine  was  insulted  there;  and,  if  it  had  not  been 
for  the  presence  of  some  superior  officers,  worse  would 
have  befallen  him. 


On  the  5th,  cold  and  a  high  wind  in  the  morning. 
Rain  in  the  evening.  The  order  was  given  for  lOUO 
men  of  the  infantry  and  1500  of  the  artillery  to  em- 
bark the  next  da}',  which  took  place  on  the  6tii. 

This  day  General  Washington,  who  was  expected, 
arrived  about  two  o'clock.  He  first  went  to  the  Due 
de  Bouvfjogne,  where  all  our  generals  were.  He  then 
landed  ;  all  the  troops  were  under  arms  ;  I  was  pre- 
sented to  him.  His  face  is  handsome,  noble  and  mild. 
He  is  tall  (at  the  least,  five  feet,  eight  inches).^  In 
the  evening,  I  was  at  supper  with  him.  I  mark,  as  a 
fortunate  day,  that  in  which  I  have  been  able  to  be- 
hold a  man  so  truly  great. 

On  the  7  th,  I  repaired  on  board  the  DucdeBourgogue, 
a  ship  of  80  guns,  commanded  by  M.  Destouches,  who 
had  command  of  this  squadron.  M.  de  Viomenil,  had 
embarked  thereon  with  several  officers  of  the  grenadier 
company  of  Bourbonnois  ;  the  other  troops,  making  a 
total  of  1120  men,  were  distributed  among  the  other 
ships  of  war  and  the  Fantasque  armed  eu  flute  ;  we 
also  had  two  frigates  and  the  Romulus,  captured  from 
the  English  a  short  time  ago,  and  which  had  been 
brought  into  the  line.  The  wind  being  favorable  on 
the  8th,  M.  Destouches  gave  the  signal  for  raising  the 
anchor.      Several    vessels   were    already    under   sail, 

'  Freucli  feet  and  inches. 


when  the  Fantasque,  commanded  by  an  auxiliary 
officer,  made  a  bad  manoeuvre  and  ran  aground  ;  for- 
tunately after  some  shallops  were  sent  to  it,  it  was  got 
off  and  was  found  to  be  free  from  damage  ;  but  our 
departure  was  delayed  by  it  for  six  hours,  and  we  were 
unable  to  leave  the  narrow  entrance  to  the  harbor 
until  six  o'clock  in  the  evening.  The  wind  kept  up 
until  noon  the  next  day  :  we  had  made  24  leagues. 
We  steered  towards  Delaware  bay  to  attack  Arnold, 
who  was  ravaging  Virginia. 

On  the  11th  we  were  70  leagues  from  Cape  Henry; 
the  wind,  favorable  up  to  that  time,  became  variable 
during  the  whole  night,  and  next  day  we  found  our- 
selves separated  from  part  of  our  vessels.  We  had 
with  us  only  the  Neptune,  the  Eveille  and  the  Sur- 
veillante.  This  separation  was  alarming ;  for  thus 
each  of  our  divisions  was  very  inferior  to  the  English, 
We  fired  some  volleys  to  find  our  comrades,  but  in 
vain  ;  unfortunately  it  was  foggy ;  at  noon  we  had 
made  only  14  leagues,  and  we  found  ourselves  as  far 
from  the  Chesapeake  bay  as  on  the  preceding  evening. 
At  night,  the  wind  became  favorable,  but  strong.  All 
night  we  had  very  bad  weather.  On  the  loth,  at 
noon,  we  had  made  28  leagues,  and  were  not  more 
than  40  leagues  from  the  bay. 

On  the  14  th,  at  eight  o'clock  in  the  morning,  we 


saw  land  ;  it  was  Cape  Henry  ;  this  shore  is  low,  so 
that  we  were  pretty  near  to  it.  We  put  about ;  soon 
afterwards  a  sail  was  signaled,  then  some  others,  which 
compels  us  to  clear  the  decks  ior  action.  In  the 
meanwhile  we  made  signals  of  recognition  and  soon 
recognized  the  five  vessels  and  the  frigate  from  which 
we  had  been  separated  and  which  soon  rejoined  us  to 
the  great  satisfaction  of  all.  On  the  next  day,  the 
loth,  we  tacked  about  to  keep  ourselves  oif  the  Chesa- 
peake bay  ;  we  were  in  latitude  27°  34'  and  in  longi- 
tude 77°  53'. 

On  the  16th,  at  6  o'clock  in  the  morning,  a  sail  was 
signaled  which  was  perceived  to  be  a  frigate.  Other 
vessels  were  soon  discovered.  Decks  were  cleared 
throughout  our  whole  squadron.  At  9  o'clock  the 
English  squadrcm  was  perfectly  well  distinguished, 
which  formed  a  line  after  different  manoeuvres. 

The  English  had  eight  ships,  one  of  which  was  of 
three  decks ;  they  also  had  three  frigates.  We  also 
had  eight  ships,  but  inferior  to  those  of  the  English, 
for  we  had  no  ship  of  three  decks,  and  we  had  brought 
the  Romulus  into  line,  which  had  only  fifty  guns. 
The  English  had  also  one  of  this  force,  but  it  was  in 
the  rank  of  the  frigates ;  finally,  we  wanted  one  of 
our  frigates,  the  Surveillante,  detached  the  evening 
before  for  exploring.     M.  Destouches's  intention  was 


to  avoid  an  engagement ;  but  perceiving  that  the  En- 
glish were  gaining  on  us  considerably,  he  tacked  about 
and  went  at  them.  We  began  the  engagement 
at  2  o'clock ;  it  was  bad  weather  and  there  was  a  little 
rain.  We  were  to  the  leeward,  but  that  was  not 
detrimental,  owing  to  a  heavy  sea,  because  we  were 
thus  enabled  to  make  use  of  the  first  battery.  How- 
ever, the  wind  changed  during  the  engagement  which 
lasted  a  little  more  than  an  hour.  I  will  try  to  write 
an  exact  account  of  it  and  one  prepared  by  a  man  of 
the  service ;  all  that  I  can  say  in  the  meanwhile  and 
on  my  own  account  is,  that  the  English  seemed  to  me 
to  fire  very  badly,  that  they  did  not  take  advantage  of 
their  superiority,  and  that  there  was  confusion  among 
them.  One  of  their  ships  was  so  disabled  that  it  fell 
to  the  leeward  and  made  a  signal  of  distress ;  it  had 
encountered  our  ship  and  two  others  at  the  same  time  ; 
if  the  Neptune  had  wished  to  follow  it,  it  might  have 
captured  it  or  compelled  it  to  run  ashore.  The  Con- 
querant,  on  which  I  had  been  posted  during  the  voyage 
to  America,  had,  for  its  part,  to  sustain  the  attack  of 
three  of  the  enemy's  ships,  and  fought  hand  to  hand 
with  the  ship  of  three  decks  ;  it  had  also  three  officers 
killed,  among  others  M.  de  Kergu,  a  young  man  of 
promise  and  of  the  most  brilliant  courage,  with  whom 
I  was  intimately  acquainted.     A  hundred  soldiers  or 


sailors  on  board  of  it  were  hit,  among  whom  forty 
were  killed  on  the  spot  and  an  equal  number  mortally 
wounded.  The  greatest  carnage  was  on  the  deck ; 
the  boatswains,  the  captain  at  arms  and  seven  steers- 
men were  among  the  dead,  its  tiller  and  the  wheel  of 
its  helm  were  carried  away  ;  notwithstanding  which 
it  held  out.  The  English,  who  were  to  the  windward 
and,  consequently,  could  renew  the  combat,  were  not 
anxious  for  it,  put  about  and  went  away.  M.  Des- 
touches's  project  seem.ed  to  be  to  follow  them  and 
attack  them  again  ;  but  we  lost  time  in  ascertaining 
the  condition  of  the  Conquerant,  which  had  made  a 
signal  of  distress. 

Night  came  and  the  enemy  were  already  at  a  dis- 
tance. Oil  bjard  of  the  Due  de  Boargogne  we  had  only 
four  men  killed  and  eight  wounded;  an  auxiliary 
officer  also  received  a  contusion  along  side  of  me  ;  the 
Ardent,  one  of  the  ships  of  our  squadron,  found  itself 
for  some  time  between  us  and  an  English  ship,  which 
warded  off  many  blows,  but  at  the  same  time  was  pre- 
judicial to  our  manoeuvre  and  hindered  us  from  doing  all 
the  damage  to  the  English  that  we  might  have  done. 
Besides,  as  I  have  mentioned,  the  English  did  not  fire 
well ;  for  we  were  within  pistol  shot  of  one  of  their 
vessels,  which  twice  fired  a  broadside  at  us,  which  I 
saw^  very  plainly,  without  injuring  us;  a  ball  passed 


through  our  mizzen-mast  without  rendering  it  unser- 
viceable ;  fourteen  balls  were  found  in  the  hull  of  the 
ship.  During  the  whole  of  the  engagement  I  remained 
upon  the  quarter  deck,  within  reach  of  the  captain 
and  of  M.  de  ViomeniL  There  I  displayed  coolness; 
I  remember  thnt  in  the  midst  of  the  hottest  fire,  M. 
de  Menonville  having  opened  his  snuff  box,  I  begged 
a  pinch  of  him  and  we  exchanged  a  joke  upon  this 
subject.  From  M.  de  Viomenil  I  received  a  testimony 
of  satisfaction  which  gave  me  pleasure. 

On  the  17th,  the  admiral  caused  us  to  lie  to.  and 
all  the  captains  repaired  for  orders.  Some  infantry 
officers  came  with  them,  who  all  did  justice  to  the 
valor  of  the  naval  officers  and  the  crews.  This  en- 
gagement united  the  army  and  the  navy.  M.  de  la 
Grandiere,  captain  of  the  Conquerant,  if  he  did  not 
display  superior  intelhgence,  distinguished  himself  by 
his  heroic  courage.  M.  de  la  Clochetterie,  the  comman- 
der of  the  Jason,  was  also  mentioned,  and  de  Marigny, 
the  captain  of  the  Ardent.  Lastly,  M.  de  la  Ville- 
brune,  the  commander  of  the  Romulus,  of  fifty  guns, 
which  sustained  the  shock  of  the  London,  a  ship  of 
three  decks,  deserved  praise. 

It  was  decided  that  they  should  return  to  Newport, 
the  landing  in  Virginia  seeming  im.possible  in  presence 
of  the  English,  who,  being  better  sailers  than  we,  had 


certainly  proceeded  to  Chesapeake  bay.  Besides  the 
Conquerant  was  in  a  bad  condition  and  the  Ardent 
had  also  sustained  some  damage,  even  before  the  en- 
gagement. At  four  o'clock  we  set  sail.  The  next 
day  we  did  not  see  a  single  ship,  and  at  noon  we  found 
ourselves  in  the  latitude  of  36°  6'  and  in  the  longitude 
of  76°.^ 

On  the  19th,  they  again  lay  by  to  wait  for  the 
Eveille  and  the  Herraione,  which  had  chased  and 
captured  a  merchantman  going  from  Bermuda  to  New 
York.  There  were  four  English  officers  on  board,  who 
informed  us  that  the  English  had  captured  Curasao 
and  St.  Eustacia,  belonging  to  the  Dutch.  M.  Des- 
touches  sent  the  Hermione  to  Philadelphia  with  dis- 
patches for  the  congress  and  our  embassador. 

'  "  A  very  exact  account  of  tlie  engngeiiient  was  jirinted  sliortly 
aftci-wards.  It  will  be  found  in  the  papers  of  the  time.  I  am 
unable  to  find  the  copy  which  I  had  kei>t.  What  is  certain  is 
that  the  English  had  the  Avorst  in  this  affair,  by  which,  never- 
theless, we  did  not  profit,  because  the  Concjuerant  could  not  re- 
pair her  damage  quickly  enough.  The  captain  of  this  ship  also 
made  some  mistakes  in  manoeuvring,  and  lastly,  M.  Destouches, 
who  w-as  iu  command  for  the  first  time,  and  who  had  been  un- 
expectedly called  to  this  post  by  the  death  of  M.  dc  Ternay,  was 
afraid  of  the  court,  and  did  not  display  all  the  energy  that  was 
requisite.  The  English  had  more  cannons,  but  we  had  more 
men,  and,  I  believe,  more  officers  ;  in  our  scpiadron  there  were 
some  distinguished  for  bravery  and  talents." —  Xote  from  MS. 


From  the  20th  to  the  23d  we  chased  two  vessels 
unsuccessfully,  one  of  which  was  a  stout  frigate.  The 
winds  were  contrary,  we  tacked  about  and  were  com- 
pelled to  lie  by  for  fear  of  the  land. 

On  the  23d,  in  the  morning,  there  were  snow,  a 
thick  fog  and  a  violent  wind  from,  the  south-east.  We 
scattered  considerably,  and  there  was  reason  to  fear 
that  we  might  be  cast  upon  the  coast.  At  two  o'clock 
the  admiral  resolved  to  spread  a  little  sail,  which  di- 
minished the  danger,  but  exposed  the  Ardent  and  the 
Conquerant,  already  greatly  damaged,  to  be  entirely 
dismasted.  Our  hope  was  in  a  change  of  weather,  and 
indeed  at  three  o'clock  the  wind  abated  a  little  ;  at 
four  o'clock  it  became  more  favorable,  the  whole  crew 
were  joyful,  for  they  had  been  really  uneasy,  and  the 
rather  because  we  were  unacquainted  with  the  coast 
and  there  was  a  very  thick  fog  ;  we  had  been  unable 
to  take  the  altitude.  Besides,  we  were  in  a  dangerous 
season  and  a  dangerous  sea.  During  the  night  the 
wind  again  became  violent  and  the  sea  rough.  On 
the  24th,  the  weather  grew  clear;  three  of  our 
ships,  which  had  separated  from  us,  rejoined  us.  At 
last,  we  perceived  land  ;  it  was  Martha's  Vineyard, 
eleven  leagues  from  Newport ;  in  the  evening,  we  an- 
chored near  this  island;  but  at  midnight,  the  wind 
having  suddenly  sprung  up  from  the  north-east,  we 


dragged  our  anchors  and  were  compelled  to  set  sail. 
We  stood  for  the  offing,  but  on  the  25th  at  two  o'clock 
in  the  afternoon,  we  tacked  about.  Our  prize,  from 
which  we  had  been  separated,  rejoined  us,  as  likewise 
the  Surveillante,  one  of  our  frigates  which  M.  Des- 
touches  had  detached  on  the  evening  before  our  en- 
gagement for  the  purpose  of  reconnoitering.  She 
reported  that  she  had  seen  the  English  crowding 
into  Chesapeake  bay,  having  several  ships  unrigged, 
and  that  she  had  been  hotly  pursued.  It  was  fortu- 
nate that  she  was  able  to  save  herself,  for  she  was  ig- 
norant of  our  engagement  and  might  have  fallen  into 
the  midst  of  the  English  ships. 

On  the  26th,  the  wind  being  favorable,  we  took  ad- 
vantage of  it  to  proceed  to  Newport,  where  we  an- 
chored at  five  o'clock  in  the  afternoon.  I  landed  in 
order  to  have  our  hospitals  prepared  for  the  reception 
of  the  wounded.  I  found  almost  all  our  troops  still 
under  arms,  because  they  did  not  expect  our  return, 
and  had  mistaken  us  for  an  English  squadron. 

On  the  27th,  the  troops  landed;  nothing  of  interest 
occurred  at  Newport. 

The  cold  continued  and  there  was  ice.  We  had 
had  some  on  board  also. 

April,  1781,  The  first  days  of  April  passed  away 
very    quietly ;  we   received   news  of  an  engagement 


which  had  occurred  on  the  15th  of  March  between  the 
Americans  and  the  English  in  Carolina.  The  English 
had  remained  masters  of  the  field  of  battle,  but  with 
great  loss  of  men,  so  that  this  victory  had  been  of  no 
great  importance  to  them.  We  also  had  the  account 
which  the  English  gave  of  the  naval  engagement  of 
the  16th  of  March.  It  was  contradictory.  They  said 
that  they  would  have  gained  a  complete  victory  if 
three  of  their  ships  had  not  been  greatly  damaged. 
Three  vessels  disabled  out  of  eight  was  not  a  very 
brilliant  victory,  whilst  we  had  only  two  disabled. 

On  the  loth  of  April,  being  Good  Friday,  having 
recovered  from  a  violent  cold,  I  set  out  for  Providence, 
where  my  wood-cutting  had  fallen  behindhand,  and 
where  the  hospital  also  required  my  presence  :  many 
sailors  had  been  sent  to  it.  I  slept  at  Warren,  it  was 
cold  and  I  again  saw  ice.  As  yet  none  of  the  trees 
had  leaves,  and  the  apple-trees,  which  by  this  time 
are  covered  with  blossoms  in  France,  had  not  a  single 
one.  On  my  arrival  at  Providence  I  resumed  my  old 
way  of  living  which  was  agreeable  to  me,  and  I  re- 
paired to  the  wood  almost  every  day. 

On  the  18th,  the  merchantmen,  which  had  left 
Brest  with  us,  and  on  w^iich  we  had  embarked  a  part 
of  the  troops  and  of  our  property,  left  us  and  repaired 
to  Saint  Domingo,  under  the  escort  of  a  frigate. 


Nothing  new  to  the  27th,  on  which  I  am  writing. 
The  same  weather  and  always  cold,  on  account  of  the 
wind  which  does  not  cease  to  blow  strongly ;  these 
winds  are  one  of  the  discomforts  of  this  climate. 
Different  news  was  then  spread,  as  is  usual  among 
armies.  I  do  not  reproduce  it,  not  knowing  whether 
it  is  true. 

On  the  29th,  I  received  the  degree  of  master  mason 
in  a  lodge  held  by  the  French,  over  which  M.  de 
Jausecourt  presided. 

May,  1781.  The  first  days  were  fine  and  warm;  the 
country  was  still  very  backward. 

On  the  6th,  I  came  to  Newport.  On  the  same  day 
the  Concorde,  which  had  brought  us  out,  arrived  at 
Boston.  The  Count  de  Baras,  chief  of  the  squadron, 
appointed  to  take  the  place  of  M.  de  Ternay,  and  M. 
de  Rochambeau's  son  [were  on  board].  They  left 
Brest  on  the  28th  of  March.  On  the  22d  of  the  same 
month  M.  de  la  Grasse  had  left  that  port  at  the  head 
of  a  strong  squadron,  accompanying  a  considerable 
convoy,  one  part  of  which  was  for  the  Indies,  and  the 
other  part,  say  15  merchantmen,  for  us.  These  ves- 
sels were  laden  with  goods  for  our  army,  two  compa- 
nies of  artillery  and  five  hundred  men  drawn  from 
different  regiments  who  were  to  fill  up  ours  and  be  in- 
corporated with  them.     I  saw  M.  de  Al23lierau,  lieu- 


tenant  of  the  navy,  who  came  with  M.  de  Barras,  and 
who  was  connected  with  my  wife's  family  and  knew 
my  brother. 

Since  the  6th  the  weather  has  been  bad  enough,  with 
alternations  of  rain,  wind  and  cold  ;  people  did  not 
begin  to  do  without  fire  until  about  the  15th. ^ 

On  the  19th,  eight  hundred  men  were  embarked 
upon  the  vessels  which  were  getting  ready  to  go  to 
meet  the  convoy  which  we  are  expecting ;  but  the 
English  having  made  their  appearance  in  superior 
force,  it  was  not  considered  proper  to  send  out  the 
squadron.  M.  de  Rochainbeau  set  out  for  Hartford, 
on  the  same  day,  with  the  Chevalier  de  Chastellux;  a 
meeting  with  General  Washington  had  been  appointed, 
to  confer  about  the  operations  of  the  campaign.  The 
bad  weather  returned  again  and  we  made  a  fire. 

On  the  26th,  M.  de  Rochambeau  returned  from  his 
interview  with  General  Washington  and  on  the  suc- 
ceeding days  made  arrangements  for  a  movement  of 
the  troops. 

'  "  Notwithstanding  this  changeable  weather  which  I  have  ob- 
served at  Rhode  Isbmd  during  the  whole  winter,  the  country  is 
healthy,  the  rest  of  my  sojourn  proved  it  to  me.  I  have  always 
had  fewer  sick  i)ersons  in  our  hospitals  than  in  France,  and  w^hen 
our  army  set  out  in  tlie  latter  part  of  1782,  after  staying  in 
America  two  and  a  half  years,  we  had  not  ten  sick  in  a  thousand 
men.''' —  JVote  fro)n  MS. 


On  the  ni,o:ht  of  the  28th-!29th,  an  officer  of  artillery 
named  la  Boioliere  was  assassinated  by  a  sergeant  of 
his  company,  without  anyone's  knowing  the  reason. 
The  murderer  desired  to  drown  himself,  but  they 
drew  him  out  of  the  water.  The  officer,  although  he 
received  several  blows  with  a  sabre,  does  not  appear 
to  be  in  danger.  There  was  no  delay  in  the  trial  of 
the  assassin,  who  was  hung,  after  having  his  hand  cut 
off.  He  did  not  acknowledge  his  crime  and  died  with 

June,  1781.  The  first  days  were  fine  and  pretty 
warm.  We  learnt  that  M.  de  Grasse  had  arrived 
fortunately  at  Martinico.  A  council  of  war  was 
held  on  board  of  the  Due  de  Bourgogne  and  decided 
that  the  squadron  should  not  go  to  Boston,  but  should 
remain  at  Newport  where  we  would  leave  four  hun- 
dred men  of  the  infantry.  We  continue  to  make  pre- 
parations for  the  departure  of  the  troops. 

On  the  1th,  I  spent  part  of  the  day  on  the  island  of 
Con  anient,  with  which  I  was  not  yet  acquainted  ;  it 
is  two  miles  from  Newport  and  may  be  about  two 
leagues  long.  I  was  there  with  some  naval  officers 
and  M.  de  la  Grandiere,  who  had  dinner  provided 
for  us. 

On  the  7th,  the  cold  returned  and  people  warmed 


themselves.  I  was  invited  to  a  great  farewell  dinner 
on  board  of  the  Due  de  Bonrgogne.  There  were  sixty 
persons  present,  several  of  whom  were  ladies  of  New- 
port and  the  vicinity.  The  quarter-deck  had  been 
arranged  with  sails,  which  made  a  very  handsome 
hall.  On  the  same  day  there  was  a  council  of  admin- 
istration, composed  of  officers  of  the  land  and  sea  ser- 
vices. M.  de  Lauzun  had  just  arrived,  after  having 
been  to  settle  several  points  with  General  Washington. 
In  the  evening  M.  de  Tarle  told  me  to  get  ready  the 
next  day  for  Providence,  as  the  first  division  of  the 
troops  was  to  proceed  thither  on  the  10th. 

At  this  period  I  sent  some  bills  of  exchange  to 
France.  Our  salaries  were  paid  in  money,  and 
we  took  them  to  the  army-banker,  who  gave  us 
bills  of  exchange  at  20,  25  and  sometimes  30  premium. 
I  mention,  for  instance,  that  I  then  sent  to  my  sister 
525  livres  in  a  bill  of  exchange  which  I  had  obtained 
for  367  livres.  It  was  an  abuse  ;  it  seems  to  me  that 
the  treasurer  himself  might  have  given  us  bills  of 
exchange  with  some  loss  to  the  king,  but  not  with 
that  which  he  had  to  bear.  There  was  something 
odious  about  it ;  he  paid  us  and  we  went  as  quickly 
as  possible  to  sell  this  money  to  him  with  usury. 
At  this  time  the  American  paper  money  was  utterly 


depreciated.  Tt  was  at  700  per  cent  discount ;  hereto- 
fore we  had  seen  it  at  from  60  to  80,  and  I  had 
passed  much  of  it  at  72. 

On  the  9th,  I  went  to  Providence.  On  the  road  I 
jnet  a  naval  officer,  who  was  going  to  report  at  New- 
port that  the  Sagittaire,  a  ship  of  50  guns,  had  arrived 
at  Boston,  after  a  passage  of  80  days,  with  the  greater 
part  of  the  convoy  which  we  were  expecting.  Only 
four  ships,  which  had  gone  astray,  were  missing ; 
among  which  was  the  Jauny,  armed  by  M.  Gaudelet, 
the  correspondent  of  tny  family  at  Brest  and  my  own. 

On  the  10th,  M.  de  Tarle  passed  through  Providence 
on  his  way  to  Boston.  The  troops  arrived  to-day  and 
the  next  day;  M.  de  Rochambeau,  the  generals  and 
the  entire  staff  also  passed  through  Providence.  After- 
wards several  successes  of  M.  de  Grasse  were  men- 

From  the  10th  to  the  16th  I  was  occcupied  with  the 
business  of  the  army. 

On  the  16tli,  I  set  out  in  the  morning  for  General 
Washington's  camp,  to  which  I  was  ordered  to  proceed, 
stopping  at  the  different  places  where  our  troops  were 
to  be  stationed,  in  order  to  examine  if  anything  was 
needed.  The  Americans  supplied  us  with  nothing  ; 
we  were  obliged  to  purchase  everything  and  to  pro- 
vide ourselves  with   the  most  trifling   things.     It  is 


said  that  it  is  better  to  make  war  in  an  enemy's 
country  than  among  one's  friends.  If  this  is  an 
axiom,  it  acquires  still  more  truth  when  war  is  made 
in  a  poor  and  exhausted  country,  where  the  men  are 
possessed  of  little  information,  selfish  and  divided  in 
their  opinions.  I  stopped  to  dine  at  Waterman's 
tavern,  the  principal  place  of  the  county,  the  first 
station  of  the  army,  fifteen  miles  from  Providence,  say 
five  leagues.  The  road  is  agreeable,  we  pass  through 
some  woods ;  but  we  see  few  cultivated  ftirms  and 
meet  with  many  rocks  and  tracts  of  sand.  I  paid  nine 
livres  for  my  dinner  ;  it  only  consisted  of  a  piece  of 
veal,  hastily  fricasseed  ;  but  in  this  payment,  the  dinners 
of  my  two  servants  and  of  three  horses  were  included. 

At  night,  I  lay  at  Plainfield,  fifteen  miles  from 
Waterman's  tavern.  The  country  is  a  little  more 
cleared,  especially  in  the  environs  of  Plainfield,  where, 
nevertheless,  there  are  only  five  or  six  houses  I  saw 
some  farms  sown  with  rye  and  wheat,  but  especially 
with  maize  (what  we  call  Turkish  corn  in  Anjou)  and 
with  potatoes.  I  also  passed  through  many  woods, 
mostly  of  oaks  and  chestnut  trees.  My  lodging  cost 
me  18  livres. 

On  the  17th,  I  set  out  at  half  after  six  for  Wind- 
ham, where  I  arrived  at  ten  o'clock,  after  a  journey 
of  fifteen  miles.     The   country  is  very  similar   to  the 


environs  of  Plainfield ;  yet  we  see  more  pasture  lands 
there,  which  are  in  the  valleys.  So  we  have  to  ascend 
and  descend  continually  on  this  road.  Plainfield  and 
Windham  are  in  Connecticut.  Windham  seemed  to 
have  sixty  houses,  all  pretty  ;  there  is  also  a  very 
handsome  temple,^  called  in  this  country  «  meetlwi-liouse. 
Lauzun's  legion  had  spent  the  winter  at  Lebanon, 
which  is  only  six  miles  from  Windham.  There  is 
another  villasce  between  Plainheld  and  Windham, 
called  Strickland,  which  seemed  to  me  to  be  pretty, 
and  where  we  also  saw  a  temple.  I  lay  at  Bolton, 
where  I  was  very  sick,  after  a  fatiguing;  march  ;  it  is 
eighteen  miles  from  Windham  to  Boston,  and  we  had 
to  ascend  and  descend.  I  saw  some  pljices  cleared, 
that  is  to  say,  where  the  wood  had  been  cut,  and 
which  are  tilled. 

On  the  18th,  I  arrived  at  Hartford,  the  capital  of 
Connecticut,  fourteen  miles  from  Boston ;  the  road  is 
fine.  Before  entering  Hartford  we  pass  by  a  ferry 
across  the  Connecticut  river,  which  empties  into  the 
sea  and  carries  vessels  of  seventy  tons  to  Hartford  ;  it 
is  not  navigable  any  farther  except  for  iiat  boats ; 
moreover,  it  is  not  very  broad.  After  having  paid 
some  attention  to  my  business,  I  went  to  dine  with 
Colonel  Wadsworth,  whom  I  had  known  at  Newport, 

^  The  French  wor<t  for  a  Protestant  church. 


the  person  who  supplied  our  army.  He  has  a  hand- 
some house  very  neatly  furnished.  He  introduced  me 
to  the  governor,  Mr.  Trumbull,  who  presides  over  the 
state  of  Connecticut,  for  there  is  a  governor  in  every 
state,  chosen  by  the  people  I  learnt  at  Hartford  that 
General  Greene,  at  the  house  of  whose  wife  I  had  been 
at  Providence,  had  obtained  a  considerable  advantage 
in  the  south,  and  had  taken  700  of  the  English  pri- 

On  the  19th,  I  was  particularly  busy  with  a  hospital 
which  we  were  establishing  at  Hartford  ;  and  I  was,  by 
way  of  parenthesis,  compelled  to  fight,  in  presence  of 
a  great  number  of  Americans,  with  three  nurses  who 
mutinied.  I  dined  at  the  house  of  Mr.  Alley,  the  su- 
perintendent of  provisions.  Hartford,  the  capital  of 
Connecticut,  somewhat  smaller  than  Providence,  is 
built  in  the  same  style  ;  the  streets  are  wider,  but  they 
are  not  all  paved.  We  saw  there  two  temples,  and  a 
third  outside  of  the  city,  and  a  Court  House  or  City 
Hall.  The  environs  are  fertile,  especially  the  banks 
of  the  river,  where  very  good  pasturage  is  found.  Be- 
fore reaching  Hartford  and  crossing  the  river,  we  find 
a  village  called  East  Hartford  ;  it  is  there  that  our 
troops  are  to  encamp.  This  village  has  only  thirty 
houses  and  a  temple  ;  but  three  or  four  miles  oft'  are 
some  houses  which  depend  upon  it. 


I  did  not  leave  Hartford  until  early  on  the  22d.  M. 
de  Rochambeau  arrived  on  that  day  with  our  first  divi- 
sion, and  he  desired  me  to  precede  them.  I  dined  and 
remained  at  Farmington,  ten  or  twelve  miles  from 
Hartford.  The  country  between  these  two  points 
seemed  to  me  to  be  dry  ;  but  Farmington  is  in  a  plea- 
sant valley.  I  continued  my  journey  and  lay  at 
Baron's  Tavern,  which  is  situated  between  two  steep 

On  the  next  day,  the  23d,  to  reach  Breakneck  for 
dinner  I  was  obliged  to  follow  a  difficult  road,  to  leave 
the  valley  and  climl^  a  mountain  ;  so  that  Breakneck 
means  to  break  one's  neck.  From  this  place  to 
Newtown,  where  I  was  to  pass  the  night,  is  eighteen 
miles,  more  than  half  of  which  is  in  a  bad  road.  In 
general,  the  country  is  middling,  yet  in  the  midst  of 
these  rocks,  we  find  some  pieces  of  sown  ground  which 
seem  to  produce  much  grain,  at  least  for  the  time 
being ;  for  these  farms,  newly  cleared,  seem  to  me  to 
have  httle  depth  of  soil.  At  first  they  have  produced 
much,  because  beds  of  the  leaves  of  trees  are  found 
there  which,  being  rotten  and  mixed  with  the  soil, 
fertilize  it ;  but  this  can  only  be  for  the  moment. 

Newtown  is  on  a  hill  surrounded  l)y  hills  which 
are  still  higher.  There  are  only  a  hundred  houses 
with  two  temples.     One  of  them  was  near  the  place 


where  I  lodged ;  and,  as  it  was  Sunday,  I  saw  many 
people  from  the  vicinity  dismount  there  As  all  the 
inhabitants  of  the  country  are  proprietors  and,  con- 
sequently, in  pretty  easj'^  circumstances,  they  had 
come  on  horseback,  as  well  as  their  wives  and  daugh- 
ters. In  the  neighborhood  of  Boston,  they  come  in 
carriages ;  but  here  the  country  is  mountainous  and 
the  horse  is  more  suitable.  The  husband  mounts  his 
horse  along  with  his  wife ;  sometimes  there  are  two 
women  or  two  young  girls  together;  they  are  all  well 
clothed,  wearing  the  little  black  hat  in  the  English 
style,  and  making  as  good  an  appearance  as  the 
burghers  in  our  cities.  I  counted  more  than  a  hundred 
horses  at  the  door  of  the  temple,  where  I  heard  sing- 
ing before  the  preaching,  in  chorus  or  in  parts.  The 
singing  was  agreeahle  and  well  performed,  not  by 
hired  priests  and  chaplains,  but  by  men  or  women, 
young  men  or  young  girls  whom  the  desire  of  praising 
God  had  assembled. 

To-day  I  was  rejoined  at  Newtown,  where  I  spent 
the  whole  day,  by  M.  de  Sangon,  my  secretary  and 
some  surgeons  and  apothecaries.  I  pointed  out  to 
them  the  site  which  I  had  selected  for  the  hospital, 
and  set  out,  on  the  25th,  to  proceed  to  the  American 

I  dined  at  Plainfield,  a  very  small  village,  where  I 


found  nothing  but  some  fried  ham  cand  I  lay  at  a 
place  called  Crampond.  The  country  is  mountainous 
and  barren  ;  the  trees  are  small  and  very  inferior  to 
those  in  the  vicinity  of  Providence.  Crampond  and 
its  environs  are  not  considered  a  very  safe  country  ; 
it  is  peopled  by  tories  and,  besides,  is  at  no  great  dis- 
tance from  New  York,  where  the  English  have  their 
principal  forces,  at  present. 

I  set  out  very  early  on  the  26th  and  reached  the 
American  army.  I  stopped  at  Peekskill,  a  small  vil- 
lage. I  could  hardly  find  a  room  in  the  inn,  which 
was  occupied  by  A[r.  Pearson,  one  of  the  American 
generals.  Peekskill  is  situated  on  the  North  river 
which  is  very  broad  ;  it  is  almost  an  arm  of  the  sea, 
which  vessels  of  war  ascend.  In  some  respects  it 
divides  America  into  two  parts,  and  it  is  upon  this 
river  that  the  fortifications  of  West  Point  are  found, 
the  important  post  which  Arnold  had  intended  to 
give  up  to  the  English.  I  went  to  speak  to  General 
Pearson,  who  gave  me  an  aide-de-camp,  to  conduct  me 
to  General  Washington,  whose  quarters  were  at  a  dis- 
tance of  two  miles.  I  found  him  sitting  upon  a  bench 
at  the  door  of  the  house  where  he  lodged.  I  explained 
my  mission  to  him  and  he  gave  me  a  letter  for  the 
quarter-master  of  Peekskill  landing,  to  which  I  pro- 
ceeded. These  quarter  masters  have  here,  in  the 


army,  almost  the  same  functions  as  we,  but  with  more 
authority.  I  set  out  immediately  upon  the  same 
horses,  although  I  had  more  than  eight  leagues  to 
travel  and  in  the  rain.  I  passed  through  another 
Peekskill  where  the  Americans  have  their  magazines 
and  their  arsenals.  These  are  large  wooden  barracks, 
built  recently,  situated  between  two  ranges  of  mount- 
ains. This  other  Peekskill  is  on  the  bank  of  the 
river  ;  it  is  there  that  they  are  building  our  ovens,  a 
business  which  I  found  very  little  advanced.  The 
builder,  desiring  to  make  them  elegant,  sent  to  a  dis- 
tance for  the  materials.  The  next  day  I  went  to 
Poughkeepsie,  a  village  where  it  was  proposed  to  esta- 
blish our  hospitals,  five  leagues  beyond  Peekskill 
landing,  on  the  road  to  Albany,  and,  consequently,  to 
Canada.  I  sent  a  letter  to  General  Clinton,  which  I 
had  for  him  ;  he  is  the  governor  of  the  province  of 
New  York,  in  w^iich  we  were.  The  legislature  was 
then  sitting,  to  which  I  was  summoned,  the  governor 
having  informed  them  of  my  demand  of  a  site  to  esta- 
blish a  hospital.  After  waiting  for  some  time,  two 
deputies  were  sent  to  me  who  spoke  French,  General 
Schuyler,  retired  from  the  service  and  residing  at  Al- 
bany (he  was  brother-in-law  of  M.  Coster,  one  of  the 
providers  of  our  army)  ;  the  other,  General  Scott, 
commanding  the  militia  of  the  province,  both  about 


50  years  of  age  and  of  good  maimers.  On  tne  same 
day  I  returned  to  sleep  at  Peekskill  landing.  It  is  a 
village  partly  inhabited  by  Dutch  families.  They  have 
preserved  the  manners  and  character  of  their  nation. 
The  inn  at  which  I  dismounted  was  kept  by  one  of 
these  ffimilies. 

I  set  out  again  on  the  28th  for  the  American  army. 
I  passed  by  General  Washington's  quarters,  but  as  he 
had  changed  them  I  did  not  see  him,  and  I  proceeded 
directly  to  the  inn  at  which  I  had  previously  dis- 
mounted at  Peekskill.  I  met  M.  Da  Portail,  a  French 
engineer  in  the  service  of  America,  with  whom  I  con- 
versed. He  was  greatly  esteemed  by  the  Americans. 
I  spent  the  remainder  of  the  day  in  the  camp  and  saw 
two  regiments  go  through  their  exercise.  The  soldiers 
marched  pretty  well,  but  they  handled  their  arms 
badly.  There  were  some  fine-looking  men  ;  also  many 
who  were  small  and  thin,  and  even  some  children 
twelve  or  thirteen  years  old.  They  have  no  uniforms 
and  in  general  are  l^adly  clad 

On  the  29 th,  I  got  on  horseback  to  see  some  Ijarracks 
which  had  been  occupied  by  an  American  regiment 
during  the  winter ;  my  purpose  was  to  estiil)lish  a 
hospital  there.  On  the  road  I  met  General  Washing- 
ton, who  was  going  to  review  a  part  of  his  troops  He 
recognized  me,  stopped  and  invited  me  to  dine  with 


hiin  at  three  o'clock.  I  repaired  thither  ;  there  were 
twenty-five  covers  used  by  some  officers  of  the  army 
and  a  lady  to  whom  the  house  belonged  in  which  the 
general  lodged.  We  dined  under  the  tent.  I  was 
placed  alongside  ot  the  general.  One  of  his  aides-de- 
camp did  the  honors. 

The  table  was  served  in  the  American  style  and 
pretty  abundantly  :  vegetables,  roast  beef,  lamb,  chick- 
ens, salad  dressed  with  nothing  but  vinegar,  green 
peas,  puddings  and  some  pie,  a  kind  of  tart,  greatly  in 
use  in  England  and  among  the  Americans,  all  this 
being  put  upon  the  table  at  the  same  time.  They 
gave  us  on  the  saoje  plate  beef,  green  peas,  lamb,  &c. 
At  the  end  of  the  dinner  the  cloth  was  removed  and 
some  Madeira  wine  was  brought,  which  was  passed 
around,  whilst  drinking  different  healths,  to  the  king 
of  France,  the  French  army,  etc.  I  rose  when  I  heard 
General  Washington  ask  for  his  horses,  because  I  de- 
sired to  have  a  conversation  with  him  and  Mr.  Coster, 
the  purveyor  of  our  army,  who  had  arrived  and  spoke 
French  well.  We  all  three  left  the  table ;  the  other 
officers  remained  ;  the  lady  also  withdrew  at  the  same 
time  as  we.  Our  conference  being  ended,  the  general 
proposed  to  us  to  return  again  to  the  table  for  a  moment, 
whilst  waiting  for  the  time  of  departure.  Again  some 
healths  were  drunk,  among  others  that  of  the  Count 


de  Grasse  ;  then  everyone  rose  from  table.  I  have 
dwelt  upon  the  details  of  this  dinner,  because  every- 
thing that  relates  to  General  Washington  seems  inte- 
resting to  me. 

I  have  already  described  his  figure.  His  physiog- 
nomy has  something  grave  and  serious  ;  but  it  is 
never  stern,  and,  on  the  contrary,  becomes  softened  by 
the  most  gracious  and  amiable  smile.  He  is  aftable 
and  converses  with  his  officers  familiarly  and  gaily, 
I  was  not  sufficiently  accustomed  to  the  English  lan- 
guage to  maintain  a  connected  conversation  with  him  ; 
nevertheless  we  exchanged  some  words,  for  instance, 
respecting  the  battle  of  the  Chesapeake,  which  he 
considered  glorious  to  our  arms.  He  excused  himself 
respecting  the  entertainment  which  he  had  given  me, 
to  which  I  replied  that  I  found  m3^self  in  good  case  in 
America,  better  than  in  Corsica,  where  I  had  been  for 
a  long  time.  As  to  this  subject  he  told  me  that  the 
English  papers  announced  that  the  Corsicans  were 
about  to  revolt  and  create  a  diversion  against  us.  I 
replied  that  I  had  no  fear  of  it,  that  the  Corsicans 
were  not  dangerous,  and  that  Paoli  was  not  Washin,o-- 
ton.  In  the  evening  I  saw  him  again  ;  he  had  come 
to  see  General  Pearson,  in  whose  house  I  was  lodging. 
He  invited  me  to  come  and  dine  with  him  as  long  as 
I  remained  in  his  quarters.     On  the  next  day,  passing 


by  this  house,  again,  he  stopped  there,  caused  me  to  be 
called,  and  proposed  to  me  to  take  me  to  dine  at  the 
house  of  one  of  the  American  generals  to  which  he 
was  going.  I  thanked  him,  on  account  of  some  busi- 
ness, and  he  invited  me  in  the  most  polite  manner  in 
the  world  for  the  next  day. 

July,  1781.  I  went  thither,  indeed  ;  it  was  the  first 
of  July.  I  found  the  table  served  as  at  the  first  time 
with  about  the  same  number  of  guests.  I  was  along- 
side of  General  Washington  and  another  general 
named  Lord  Stirling  (he  claimed  to  be  an  English 
lord).  General  Washiugton  seemed,  for  a  moment, 
to  be  somewhat  absent,  at  other  times  he  joined  in 
the  conversation  and  appeared  to  be  interested  in  it. 
There  was  a  clergyman  at  this  dinner  who  blessed  the 
food  and  said  grace  after  they  had  done  eating  and 
had  brought  on  the  wine.  I  was  told  that  General 
Washington  said  grace  when  there  was  no  clergyman 
at  table,  as  fathers  of  a  family  do  in  America.  The 
first  time  that  I  dined  with  him  tliere  was  no  clergyman 
and  I  did  not  perceive  that  he  made  this  prayer ;  yet 
I  remember  that,  on  taking  his  place  at  table,  he  made 
a  gesture  and  said  a  word  which  [  took  for  a  piece  of 
politeness,  and  which  perhaps  was  a  religious  action. 
In  this  case,  his  prayer  must  have  been  short;  the 
clergyman  made  use  of  more  forms. 


We  remained  a  pretty  long  time  at  table.  They 
drank  twelve  or  fifteen  healths  with  Madeira  wine. 
In  the  course  of  the  meal  beer  was  served  and  <jrum, 
rum  mixed  with  water. 

On  the  Ud  the  American  army  left  the  camp  of 
Peekskiil  to  advance  nearer  to  New  York.  The  first 
division  of  our  troops  proceeded  in  the  same  direction. 
I  was  informed  of  this  march,  the  evening  before,  by 
M.  de  Tarle,  which  altered  our  projects  of  establish- 
ments for  victuals  and  hospitals  in  the  environs  of 
Peekskiil,  where  I  was,  nevertheless,  obliged  to  re- 
main. General  Washington  himself  departed,  and  I 
saw  him  pass  with  his  staft'  and  an  escort  of  dragoons. 

On  the  3d,  I  learnt  that  our  army  was  at  North- 
castle.  I  ought  to  send  bread  to  it.  Only  a  small 
quantity,  3000  rations,  reached  me.  The  ovens  of 
Peekskiil  landing  were  found  to  be  too  distant  from 
our  army,  and  thia  service  was  not  well  performed. 
Besides,  T  was  not  entrusted  with  it  and  had  very 
little  authority  over  it. 

On  the  4th,  in  the  morning,  I  saw  several  American 
officers  returning  w^ounded  to  Peekskiil ;  they  had 
been  so  the  evening  before  at  Kingsbridge.  The 
English  were  guarding  a  post  there  which  the  Ameri- 
can advanced-guard  attacked  ;  one  of  these  officers 
was  stretched  out  in  the  room  in  which  I  was  dining ; 


his  wife  was  busy  about  him  and  dressed  his  wounds 
herself,  a  touching  spectacle,  but  little  suitable  for 
giving  an  appetite.  On  the  same  day,  the  effects  of 
the  American  troops  which  had  remained  at  Peeks- 
kill  were  sent  to  them  upon  a  great  number  of  vehicles, 
escorted  by  some  soldiers  of  this  nation,  who,  contrary 
to  all  discipline,  fired  incessantly  and  thus  sjDent  their 
powder  very  uselessly,  a  commodity  which,  neverthe- 
less, was  very  scarce  in  America. 

On  the  5th,  I  rejoined  the  army  at  Northcastle.  It 
left  that  place  on  the  6th.  I  remained  at  Northcastle 
to  establish  a  hospital  there.  On  the  7th,  I  rejoined 
our  troops,  encamped  at  Phillipsburg,  eight  leagues 
from  New  York.  I  lay  in  M.  de  la  Cheze's  tent,  not 
having  my  baggage  with  me.  The  heat  was  excessive ; 
it  was  not  moderated  until  the  10th  by  a  great  rain 
which  lasted  all  night  and  passed  through  all  the 
tents.  1  dined  that  day  at  the  intendant's  with 
General  Washington.  He  was  rather  grave  ;  it  was 
said  that  there  had  been  a  little  misunderstanding 
between  him  and  General  Rochambeau.  General 
Washington's  army  was  encamped  near  ours  ;  it  was 
about  4000  men. 

On  the  11th,  I  returned  to  Northcastle  to  see  our 
hospital  estabhshment ;  I  busied  myself  until  the  14th 
in  the  details  of  the  service.     I  learnt  some  particulars 


respecting  the  attack  of  Kingsbridge,  of  which  I  have 
spoken ;  they  expected  to  surprise  the  EngUsh,  but 
they  were  upon  their  guard,  so  that  the  Americans 
were  repulsed.  Lauzun's  legion  marched  to  their  assist- 
ance ;  but  General  Lincoln,  who  was  retreating,  did 
not  think  fit  to  employ  it.  We  had  news  that  the 
English  were  evacuating  Virginia,  which,  it  was  said, 
was  to  be  ascribed  to  the  march  of  our  troops.  Lastly 
an  engagement  was  mentioned  between  the  Surveil- 
lante,  a  frigate  of  our  squadron  and  a  ship  of  50  guns ; 
she  got  off  with  much  glory  ;  she  was  commanded  by 
M.  de  Villars.  It  is  the  same  frigate  that  fought  with 
so  much  courage  against  another  English  frigate 
which  took  fire  ;  she  was  then  commanded  by  M.  de 
Conedie,  who  received  a  woui.d  of  which  he  died. 

On  the  15tli,  I  returned  to  the  camp.  In  the  even- 
ing M.  de  Rochambeau  reproached  me  respecting  the 
supply  of  bread  which  had  failed.  It  was  in  vain  for 
me  to  justify  myself  by  telling  him  that  I  was  not 
especially  entrusted  with  this  service ;  he  was  unwil- 
ling to  listen  to  me.  Nevertheless  I  had  foretold  that 
the  bread  would  fail  owing  to  the  remoteness  of  the 
ovens.  Next  day  the  following  remarks  of  M.  de 
Rochambeau  were  related  to  me,  that  I  was  well 
pleased  to  see  the  supply  fail,  because  I  wished  to 
have  the  intendant  sent  away  and  to  fill  his  place ; 


that  as  to  the  rest,  the  provisions  ought  to  have  been 
entrusted  to  me.  Never  were  reproach  and  suspicion 
more  unjust,  and  I  felt  it  much.  But  such  is  M.  de 
Rochambeau.  He  mistrusts  every  one  and  always 
believes  that  he  sees  himself  surrounded  by  rogues  and 
idiots.  This  character,  combined  with  manners  far 
from  courteous,  makes  him  disagreeable  to  everybody.^ 
On  the  17th,  I  had  occasion  to  see  him  again  and  he 
charged  me  to  go  and  reconnoitre  a  site  where  he  pro- 
posed to  esbablish  new  storehouses  of  provisions,  which 
I  performed  the  same  day.  On  the  next  day  I  wasted 
a  whole  day  in  running  over,  tediously  and  uselessly, 
the  environs  of  the  camp  in  a  barren  and  desert  region 
with  which  1  was  unacquainted,  to  find  some  employees 
whom  1  needed.     Nevertheless,  1  succeeded  in  having 

'  I  Avrote  what  precedes  in  a  moment,  of  ill-humor  ;  and  al- 
though M.  de  Roeham1)eau  was  unjust  to  me,  on  this  occasion, 
and  there  is  some  truth  in  the  portrait,  which  is  here  drawn  of 
him,  I  ought  to  say  that  he  also  has  good  qualities,  that  he  is 
wise,  that  he  desires  what  is  good,  and  that,  if  he  is  not  an  able 
administrator,  he  is  generally  very  active,  having  an  excellent 
glance,  readily  becoming  acquainted  with  a  country,  and  under- 
standing war  perfectly.  He  has  served  well  in  America  and 
has  given  a  favorable  idea  of  the  nation.  People  expected  to 
see  a  French  fop,  and  they  saw  a  thoughtful  man.  "  Your 
general  is  abstemious,"  an  American  alongside  of  whom  I  was  din- 
ing, once  said  to  me,  and  who  remarked  his  moderation  at  table. 
This  moderation  and  this  wisdom  were  generally  observable  in 
the  most  important  points. 


a  service  of  provisions  established  in  a  village  called 
Rick's  mill.  On  returning  to  camp  I  learnt  that  a  cap- 
tain of  Lauzun's  legion  had  been  killed  whilst  going 
the  rounds  with  the  patrol. 

On  the  21st,  I  saw  M.  de  Rochambeau,  to  whom  I 
gave  an  account  of  what  I  had  done.  His  reception 
of  me  is  usually  cold.  Nevertheless,  I  knew  that  he 
had  spoken  of  my  performances  with  praise.  In  the 
evening,  at  9  o'clock,  Lauzun's  legion  and  the  grena- 
diers and  chasseurs  of  the  Bourbonnois  brigade  started 
under  the  command  of  M.  de  Chastellux  for  an  expe- 
dition, of  the  cause  and  object  of  which  we  are  igno- 
rant. An  American  corps  also  marched.  M.  de 
Rochambeau  and  Washington  followed  these  divisions. 

We  learnt,  on  the  22d,  that  these  troops  had  not 
accomplished  anything,  and  they  returned  on  this 
same  day  after  having  pillaged  extensively  and  com- 
mitted disorders,  of  which  hitherto  there  had  been  no 
example.  On  the  contrary,  the  army  had  behaved 
with  a  prudence  which  had  merited  the  greatest 
praises  from  the  Americans  themselves.  The  latter 
marched  in  a  very  orderly  manner  to-day.  I  l)elieve 
that  they  had  no  other  object  than  to  make  a  recon- 
noissance,  the  result  of  which  was  to  satisfy  them  that 
they  could  riot  attack  New  York  without  very  superior 


Nothing  new  happened  until  the  26th,  when  I  re- 
turned to  Northcastle.  At  this  time  it  was  said  that 
the  English  fleet  had  left  New  York,  to  go  to  Virginia 
in  search  of  Lord  Cornwallis,  who  seemed  to  be  desir- 
ous of  evacuating  that  province  altogether.  If  this  news 
is  true,  the  English  must  be  very  strong  in  New  York, 
which  ought  to  oblige  us  to  retreat  and  to  evacuate 
the  camp  of  Phillipsburg  :  that  would  not  be  much  re- 
gretted as  to  the  matter  of  convenience.  The  head- 
quarters especially  are  badly  situated  and  all  the  corps 
and  services  too  distant  from  each  other.  I  was 
obliged  to  go  four  or  five  leagues  every  day  to  attend 
to  my  business. 

The  country  is  uneven,  cut  up  by  hills  and  woods. 
It  is  hard  to  find  any  valleys  at  all  fertile.  The  hos- 
pital, for  instance,  was  located  on  a  farm,  the  truly 
rural  situation  of  which  was  very  pleasing.  In  these 
fields  we  saw  two  trees  which  are  met  with  in  France 
only  in  the  gardens  of  the  botanists  and  of  some  con- 
noisseurs ;  the  tulip  tree  and  the  catalpa.  The  first  is 
of  the  poplar  genus  ;  it  becomes  very  tall  and  very 
straight ;  its  bark  is  handsome  and  its  leaf  large ;  it 
has  a  flower  which  resembles  a  tulip,  whence  its  name. 
I  saw  one  at  Northcastle  taller  than  the  finest  elm  and 
as  thick,  straight  and  affording  much  shade ;  this 
would  be  a  fine  tree  for  an  avenue ;  the  other  the  cat- 


alpa,  or  the  caltapa,  resembles  the  plantain,  but  its 
leaf  is  larger ;  the  flower  resembles  that  of  the  horse- 
chestnut;  it  bears  it  at  the  same  time  as  the  leaves. 
This  would  be  a  very  suitable  tree  for  ornamenting 
gardens  and  making  arbors.  It  is  known  in  France 
by  the  name  of  bignonia,  a  name  which  Tournefort  had 
given  it  in  honor  of  the  Abbe  Bignore,  the  keeper  of 
the  king's  library.  In  conversing  with  the  Americans 
about  agriculture,  I  became  confirmed  in  the  opinion 
that  the  farms  which  appeared  fertile  in  the  north  of 
America  were  chiefly  so  because  they  were  newly 
cleared,  but  that  they  soon  become  exhausted.  It  is 
said  that  better  soils  are  found  on  penetrating  to  the 
west.  I  am  willing  to  believe  it,  but  this  country  is 
unknown  and  inhabited  by  savage  tribes,  difficult  to 
be  subjugated. 

August,  1781.  Nothing  interesting  occurred  during 
the  first  days  of  the  month.  I  went  and  came,  from 
the  camp  to  Northcastle  and  from  Northcastle  to  the 
camp.  Pretty  often  we  had  storms  and  heavy  rains, 
which  cooled  the  air  only  for  a  moment.  We  had  few 
sick  men  and  less  in  proportion  than  in  France.  The 
retirement  of  M.  Necker  was  much  spoken  of  at  this 
time,  which  seemed  to  concern  everj^one.  We  learnt 
this  news  through  the  English,  who  often  sent 
trumpets  and  forwarded  gazettes  to  us.     We   learnt 


from  the  same  papers  that  M.  de  la  Mothe-Piquet  had 
captured  a  rich  convoy.  The  parleys  between  us  and 
the  English  were  displeasing  to  the  Americans,  and 
even  to  General  Washington  ;  they  were  unaccustomed 
to  this  way  of  making  war. 

We  were  very  quiet  in  our  camp,  foraging  without 
being  disturbed.  The  English  contented  themselves 
with  guarding  their  cities  and  the  outposts  without 
making  the  least  attempt  against  us ;  this  made  us 
sometimes  believe  in  peace.  On  the  other  hand  we 
were  in  daily  expectation  of  M.  de  Grasse's  squadron. 

On  the  16th,  having  gone  to  Peekskill  to  see  our 
magazines  and  two  churches  which  I  was  fitting  up  to 
serve  as  hospitals  for  us  in  case  of  need,  I  received  an 
express  from  the  intendant  telling  me  to  transfer  the 
hospital  from  Northcastle  to  Peekskill ;  he  added  that 
he  was  about  to  proceed  to  Chatain  on  the  North  river. 
I  proceeded  immediately  to  the  army,  taking  another 
route  than  the  usual  one.  I  skirted  the  North  river 
and  passed  through  a  village  called  Taristown,^  where 
there  was  a  little  trade.  On  arriving  at  headquarters, 
I  learnt  that  the  Concorde  frigate,  detached  by  M.  de 
Grasse,  had  just  arrived  and  that  it  had  brought  dis- 
patches from  him.  He  announced  that  he  was  about 
to  join  us  with  twenty-eight  ships  of  the  line  ;  as,  ac- 

1  Qu.  Tarrytown  ? 


cording  to  all  appearances,  he  must  have  entered 
Chesapeake  bay,  the  French  and  American  generals 
made  a  movement  with  the  two  armies  to  be  nearer 
to  him  and  to  confine,  or  rather  to  hem  in,  Cornwallis's 
army  which  was  at  the  extremity  of  Virginia.  This 
frigate  confirmed  to  us  the  capture  of  a  convoy  by  M. 
de  la  Mothe-Piquet ;  we  also  learnt  that  they  had  re- 
captured Pondichery  and  were  besieging  Madras.  It 
seemed  also  that  the  news  of  the-  retirement  of  M. 
Necker  was  assuming  consistence. 

On  the  19th,  the  army  began  its  movem.ent  to  the 
rear  from  Phillipsburg  to  Northcastle.  Many  wagons 
broke  down  on  the  road  and  there  was  much  disorder 
in  the  columns ;  a  very  great  rain  which  came  on  de- 
layed the  march,  and  the  troops  bivouacked  on  the  road. 
M.  de  Rochambeau  had  a  very  lively  scene  with  the 
intendant  upon  this  subject ;  I  was  present  and  suffered 
much  on  account  of  it.  I  thought  that  if  these  posi- 
tions are  handsome  they  certainly  have  their  discom- 

On  the  21st,  the  army  left  Northcastle.  In  the 
evening  I  received  orders  from  the  general  to  carry  a 
letter  to  General  Washington,  who  was  already  on  the 
other  side  of  the  North  river,  where  we  also  were  be- 
ginning to  form  some  establishments.  The  Americans 
were  already  much  farther  off  than  I  had  supposed  ;  I 


joined  them,  nevertheless  :  General  Washington  was 
occupying  Smith's  house,  famous  owing  to  the  fact  that 
there  Andre  and  Arnold  had  held  their  meeting.  Gene- 
ral Washington  was  taking  tea ;  I  took  it  with  him. 
He  read  the  letter,  which  I  had  brought  him,  twice,  and 
which,  I  believe,  contained  nothing  very  important. 
When  he  had  given  me  his  answer,  I  immediately  set 
out  again  ;  it  was  late  and  I  crossed  the  North  river 
by  night ;  I  reached  head  quarters  at  eleven  o'clock. 
All  the  rooms  were  occupied  in  the  inn  where  I 
alighted,  and  I  slept  on  the  Hoor  and  upon  a  staircase. 
The  next  morning  I  learnt  that  some  letters  had 
arrived  for  us  by  the  frigate  la  Magicienne,  which  had 
just  reached  Boston  after  a  passage  of  fifty-three  days, 
and  which  brought  us  1,800,000  livres.  Another  fri- 
gate, la  Fortune,  which  had  put  into  St.  Domingo, 
followed  her  closely.  The  retirement  of  M.  Necker  is 
confirmed.  M.  de  Viomenil  received  a  memoir  com- 
posed against  him,  which  he  communicated  to  me,  and 
which  seemed  to  me  a  little  masterpiece  of  wit. 



IVie  Allied  Armies  cross  tJie  North  River  and  marrh  toumrds 
tJte  Chesapeake  Hay  ■ — •  31.  lilanchard  rejoins  tltoji  soon 
afterioards  —  He  passes  throuf/Ii  Whippariy,  Somerset,  Prince- 
ton and  Redlines,  stops  at  Philadilphia,  and  goes  on  through 
Chester,  Wibnington,  Iir<ijnh/ir;,,e,  (/hristian  Bridge  and 
Head  of  ElK\  fJicre  he  rejoins  fhr  ^Irmi/  —  He  embarks 
with  a  PetacJiment  to  effect  a  Junction  u-itli  the  Troops 
brought  by  31.  de  Grasse\s  Squadron,  a-hicJi  had  arrived  in 
the  Bay. 

August,  1781.  On  the  22d  and  23d,  the  army  began 
to  cross  the  North  river,  and  it  was  decided  that  I 
should  remain  for  the  present  at  Peekskill. 

On  the  2od  and  24th,  our  troops  finished  crossing 
the  river.  This  crossing  occupied  much  time,  owing 
to  the  breadth  of  the  river,  which  tliey  were  obliged 
to  cross  in  ferry  boats  collected  in  great  numbers,  but 
still  not  enough.  On  the  25th,  1  went  myself  to  the 
spot  and  saw  many  of  the  troops  and  much  baggage 
cross.  General  Washington  was  tiiere  ;  they  had  pro- 
vided a  pavilion  for  him,  from  which  he  examined  every- 
thing very  attentively.  He  seemed,  in  this  crossing, 
in  the  march  of  our  troops  towards  the  Chesapeake 
bay  and  in  our  reunion  with  M.  de  Grasse,  to  see  a 


better  destiny  arise,  when  at  this  period  of  the  war, 
exhausted,  destitute  of  resources,  he  needed  a  great 
success  which  might  revive  courage  and  hope.  He 
pressed  my  hand  with  much  affection  when  he  left  us 
and  crossed  the  river  himself.  It  was  about  two 
o'clock.  He  then  rejoined  his  army,  which  had  com- 
menced its  march  in  the  morning,  as  also  the  first 
division  of  our  army. 

On  the  2Gih,  the  second  division  of  our  army  and 
all  our  troops  directed  their  course  towards  Phihadel- 
phia.  The  American  general  Heath  was  entrusted 
with  the  command  of  this  side  of  the  river  and  the 
protection  of  our  establishment. 

On  the  28th,  after  having  caused  a  convoy  for  the 
army  to  set  out,  I  mounted  a  horse  to  go  to  West 
Point.  It  is  a  fortification,  or  rather  a  mass  of  fortifi- 
cations, erected  upon  a  rock  which  projects  much  into 
the  river  and  contracts  it  considerably  at  this  place. 
The  passage  of  it  was  difficult  and  the  Americans  had 
neglected  nothino;  to  increase  the  natural  difficulties. 
Thus  the  English  had  never  dared  to  attempt  this  im- 
portant crossing.  West  Point  is  the  post  which  the 
traitor  Arnold  wished  to  give  up  in  the  latter  part  of 

JVote.  The  event  has  justified  my  remarks  ;  for  the  capture 
of  Yorktown,  the  result  of  our  reiinion  with  M.  de  Grasse,  greatly 
contributed  to  the  peace  and  secured  the  liberty  of  America. 


1780.  The  Americans  have  some  estahUshmeiits  in 
the  neighborhood,  among  others,  a  hospital  vvliich  I 
visited ;  the  sick  were  in  single  beds,  but  without 
sheets  and  only  on  the  straw  with  a  coverlid.  Besides, 
they  had  no  nourishment  but  bread  and  meat  which 
the  convalescents  prepare.  The  buildings  which  serve 
for  the  hospital  were  nothing  but  barns  which  had 
not  even  been  repaired.^  People  sometimes  complain 
of  our  military  hospitals,  but  it  is  enough  to  see  these 
to  acknowledge  that  these  complaints  are  unfounded. 
Military  men  who  have  traveled  know  it  well  and  de- 
clare that  our  army-hospitals  are  greatly  superior  to 
all  those  of  foreign  countries.  From  West  Point  I 
went  to  Peekskill,  where  I  had  already  been  in  the 
month  of  June.  As  I  was  passing  in  the  midst  of 
some  barracks  connected  with  the  American  establish- 
ments, I  was  greatly  surprised  at  hearing  French 
spoken.  In  fact,  these  barracks  were  occupied  by 
eight  or  ten  families  who  had  come  from  Canada  ;  the 
men  had  been  employed  among  the  troops  and  the 
women  and  children  had  been  left  in  these  barracks, 
and  some  assistance  had   been  given    to  them.      They 

'  Let  the  reader  consult  tlie  work  of  the  sub-inteiidaiit  Vigo- 
Roussilon,  Of  the  Military  Pover  of  the  United  States  <f  Ame- 
rica,  186,  and  let  him  compai-e  the  American  hospitals  of  1781 
with  those  of  the  War  of  the  Succession, 


presented  a  very  miserable  appearance.  A  woman  to 
whom  I  spoke,  twenty  years  old  and  of  a  tolerably 
pretty  figure,  called  herself  by  her  maiden  name, 
Marie  Gogiiet.  She  spoke  pretty  good  French  with- 
out accent.  I  gave  her  a  piaster,  which  she  received 
with  pleasure.  On  the  30th,  I  crossed  the  North 
river  at  King's-ferry,  and,  having  concluded  to  rejoin 
the  army,  after  having  given  my  instructions,  I  set 
out  on  the  first  of  September. 

Sejitemher,  1781.  The  country  which  I  crossed  for 
three  or  four  leagues  is  mountainous  and  middling,  it 
is  better  and  more  agreeable  in  the  place  where  I 
stopped  to  dine,  at  Suftern,  which  is  also  the  name  of 
the  inn-keeper.  His  house  is  situated  in  the  state  of 
New  York  ;  but  Pompton,  where  I  passed  the  night, 
is  in  New  Jersey.  The  road  to  it  is  very  level,  it  is 
in  a  valley  tolerably  well  cultivated  and  pleasant.  I 
lodged  at  the  house  of  a  Dutchman,  John  Van  Gelder, 
who  received  me  very  well.  The  next  day,  at  two,  I 
dined  at  Whippany,  where  the  army  had  stopped.  The 
road  which  I  followed  continues  to  be  fine,  situated  in 
a  cultivated  valley.  Some  wood  is  found  there  never- 
theless. I  observed  fewer  apple  trees  there  than  in 
the  other  provinces  through  which  I  had  passed,  but 
many  peach  trees.  This  valley  is  also  vevy  narrow 
and    the  mountains    which    border  on  it  are  barren  ; 


there  are  some  sandy  places  in  the  valley  itself.  I 
saw  nothing  there  but  buckwheat  and  maize,  and 
these  farms  are  greatly  in  need  of  manure.  In  France 
these  farms  would  be  middling  good.  I  learnt,  on  the 
way,  that  the  La  Resohite  frigate  had  arrived  ;  we 
were  impatiently  expecting  it;  it  had  been  announced 
to  us  b}^  the  Magicienne.  It  brought  us  money,  as 
well  for  us  as  for  the  Americans,  and  some  goods  for 
their  trtiops.  It  also  brought  back  Mr.  Laurens,  the 
son  of  a  president  of  the  congress,  whom  i  have  al- 
ready mentioned,  and  who  had  gone  to  France  in  the 
month  of  February  to  ask  for  this  assistance.  On  the 
same  day  I  came  to  spend  the  night  at  Bullion's  tav- 
ern, after  having  passed  through  Chatham,  a  village 
where  our  ovens  had  been  set  up,  which  I  was  well 
pleased  to  visit,  which  caused  me  to  go  five  miles  far- 
ther and  prevented  my  passing  through  Morristown, 
where  General  Washington  had  his  quarters  for  a 
long  time,  and  where  the  Americans  have  some  iron- 
works as  at  Peekskill ;  I  also  lost  the  opportunity  of 
visiting  the  country  house  of  Lord  Stirling,  that 
American  general  whose  nobility  is  somewhat  con- 
tested. This  country  house  is  almost  unique  in  these 
parts,  where  the  dwellings  resemble  farm  houses ; 
they  have  no  gardens,  no  fences,  no  fruit-walls,  only 
some  apple  trees,  some  peach  trees  and  some  scattered 


cherry  trees,  or  forming  what  we  call  orchards.  The 
road  which  I  took  to  reach  Bullion's  tavern  is  not  dis- 
agreeable ]  but  the  farms  are  still  middling,  they  were 
sown  with  maize  and  buckwheat ;  I  also  saw  a  little 
hemp  there. 

On  the  3d,  I  dined  at  Somerset,  the  same  kind  of 
country  and  the  same  road,  and  lay  at  Princeton,  a 
pretty  village,  of  about  sixty  houses  ;  the  inns  there 
are  handsome  and  very  clean.  A  very  handsome  col- 
lege is  also  to  be  seen  there,  built  in  the  same  style 
as  that  at  Providence.  The  English  had  quartered 
their  troops  in  it  when  they  were  masters  of  this  part 
of  the  country  ;  they  had  damaged  it  somewhat.  I 
visited  the  college ;  there  were  fifty  scholars  ;  there 
was  room  for  two  hundred.  Several  languages  were 
taught ;  a  student  who  accompanied  me  alreadj-^  spoke 
a  little  French. 

He  showed  me  a  tolerably  ingenious  machine  repre- 
senting the  movement  of  the  stars,  which  was  moved 
by  springs.  My  intention  had  been  to  spend  the 
night  at  Princeton,  but  the  weather  was  fine  and  I 
proceeded  to  Trenton,  going  forty  miles  in  the  day. 
Trenton,  ten  leagues  from  Philadelphia,  is  a  pretty 
considerable  village,  of  at  least  a  hundred  houses,  sit- 
uated on  the  Delaware.  This  village,  or  little  city, 
is  pretty  and  seems  to  announce  the  vicinity  of  a  capi- 


tal.  I  made  haste  to  leave  it  on  the  4th,  having 
learnt  that  our  first  division  was  already  at  Philadel- 
phia, and  that  the  second  arrived  there  on  this  very 
day.  I  crossed  the  Delaware  in  a  ferry  boat  ;  it  is 
neither  broad  nor  deep  at  this  place,  but  at  the  dis- 
tance of  four  leagues  it  becomes  as  broad  as  the  Loire 
below  La  Fosse.  I  had  heard  Americans  say  that 
these  two  rivers  resembled  each  other  ;  this  resem- 
blance also  struck  me  owing  to  the  colors  of  the  white 
and  limpid  water  and  the  low  and  agreeable  banks. 
The  road  leading  to  Philadelphia  is  fine,  at  least  to 
within  ten  miles  from  this  city,  at  Redlines,^  where  I 
stopped  to  dine  and  wrote  these  notes.  It  is  quite 
wide  and  skirts  the  Delaware ;  forests  are  passed 
through  in  some  places.  At  last,  I  reached  Philadel- 
phia in  the  evening;  the  country  in  the  neighborhood 
is  cultivated  ;  here  and  there  I  met  with  pretty  houses 
and  everything  announced  the  vicinity  of  a  great  city. 
Philadelphia  is  a  very  extensive  city,  and  regularly 
built ;  the  houses  are  of  brick  and  pretty  high,  the 
streets  straight,  broad,  and  very  long  ;  there  are  side 
walks  for  persons  on  foot.  Some  public  buildings  are 
also  to  be  seen  there  which  are  worthy  of  a  great  city, 
such  as  the  house  where  the  congress  meets,  the  hos- 

The  Red  Lion  ? 


pitals  and  the  prison.  The  absence  of  quays  upon  the 
Delaware  deprives  it  of  a  great  convenience  and  a 
great  beauty.  In  the  evening  I  repaired  to  the  house 
of  M.  de  la  Luzerne,  who  was  giving  a  great  dinner  to 
the  chief  officer  of  the  congress,  General  Washington 
and  the  principal  officers  of  our  troops.  On  entering 
the  city  they  defiled  before  the  president  of  the  con- 
gress and  saluted  him.  Beginning  on  the  5th,  our  first 
division  set  out  for  the  Chesapeake  bay.  I  walked 
much  in  the  city,  without  neglecting  my  business  and 
the  attention  to  be  paid  to  our  sick,  who  had  been 
quartered  in  the  Philadelphia  hospital.  I  dined  on  the 
same  day  at  the  house  of  M.  de  la  Luzerne  with  more 
than  eighty  persons.  Whilst  we  were  at  table,  news 
was  brought  that  M.  de  Grasse  had  arrived  in  Chesa- 
peake bay  with  twenty-eight  ships  of  the  line,  and 
that  he  had  landed  three  thousand  men  who  had  joined 
M.  de  la  Fayette,  so  that  Cornwallis,  who  found  him- 
self between  the  fleet  and  the  land  forces,  was  in  dan- 
ger of  being  captured.  This  news  was  received  with 
great  joy  by  all  the  guests,  French  and  Americans. 
Li  the  evening  the  citizens  assembled  and  proceeded 
in  a  crowd  to  the  hotel  of  the  ambassador.  During 
the  day,  the  regiment  of  Soissonnois  had  manoeuvred 
before  a  crowd  of  the  inhabitants,  who  seemed  to  ad- 
mire the    fine    appearance  of  the  soldiery  and  their 


discipline.  The  tories  could  not  avoid  agreeing  to  it, 
but  they  said  that  it  was  a  regiment  recruited  in  Eng- 
land. The  English  had  described  us  to  the  Americans 
as  pigmies. 

On  the  6th,  the  second  division  commenced  its  march. 
M.  Holker,  the  French  consul  at  Philadelphia,  took 
me  to  dine  at  his  country  house,  only  three  miles  from 
the  city.  We  drank  some  excellent  Burgundy  wine, 
which  is  very  scarce  beyond  the  sea.  Several  French 
merchants  were  at  this  dinner. 

On  the  7th,  after  having  breakfasted  at  the  house  of 
our  ambassador,  I  set  out  to  rejoin  the  army,  and  lay 
at  Chester,  after  having  crossed  the  vSchuylkill  one 
mile  from  Philadelphia,  at  the  place  wliere  M.  Tron- 
9on-Du-Coudray,  a  well-known  officer  of  artillery,  who 
had  been  sent  to  the  Americans,  was  drowned  in 
crossing  a  ferry.  At  present  there  is  a  bridge.  Chester 
is  a  little  village,  five  leagues  from  Philadelphia  and 
on  the  Delaware.  The  next  day  I  started  early  and 
lay  at  Wilmington,  a  village  upon  the  Brandywine, 
whereon  an  important  battle  was  fought  which  has 
retained  its  name.  Thence,  I  went  to  dine  at  Christian 
Bridge,  where  I  did  the  honors  of  the  public  table  to 
some  Americans  with  whom  I  drank  toasts.  At  night, 
I  lay  at  the  Head  of  Elk,  where  I  found  our  army. 
The  country  through  which  I  had  passed  for  two  days 


was,  generally,  barren  and  sandy,  so  that  we  were 
covered  with  dust. 

On  arrivmg,  I  learnt  that  1200  of  the  troops,  of 
whom  a  part  were  grenadiers  and  chasseurs,  were  to 
embark  for  the  purpose  of  joining  the  troops  which  M. 
de  Grasse  had  brought,  and  that  I  was  to  be  on  this 
expedition.  They  were  to  embark  on  a  little  river 
leading  into  Chesapeake  bay  ;  the  remainder  of  the 
troops  were  to  proceed  by  land  to  the  appointed  spot; 
that  is  to  say  in  front  of  York  to  which  Cornwallis  had 

On  the  9th,  I  devoted  myself  to  the  embarkation. 
On  the  10th  the  boats  provided  to  convey  ua  repaired 
to  Plumb  Point,  where  the  embarkation  was  easier,  and 
on  the  11th  they  were  on  board.  In  company  with 
M.  de  Custine  I  got  on  board  a  small  boat,  in  which 
were  smoe  officers  and  fifty  grenadiers.  Cooking  could 
not  be  done  on  these  boats  and  we  had  nothing  but 
some  biscuits  and  cheese  for  the  soldiers,  and  some 
cold  meats  for  us.  On  the  12th,  in  the  morning,  we 
had  not  made  much  headway,  the  wind  being  contrary, 
yet  we  entered  Chesapeake  bay  on  the  sarpe  morning. 
At  this  point  it  is  a  league  in  breadth.  This  Chesa- 
peake bay  is  a  little  Mediterranean,  and  some  immense 
rivers  empty  into  it  which  bear  the  largest  ships,  such 
as  the  Potomac.     On  the  evening  of  the  said  day,  the 


12th,  a  storm  of  wind  and  rain  came  on,  so  that  we 
were  compelled  to  anchor.  We  were  cruelly  tossed 
about  all  night  and  almost  everyone  was  sick.  We 
were  then  as  high  up  as  Annapolis  and  in  sight  of  two 
frigates  and  a  cutter  which  the  bad  weather  did  not 
allow  us  to  join,  and  which  we  supposed  to  form  apart 
of  M.  de  Grasse's  squadron.  Next  day  we  had  fine 
weather  and  continued  to  advance ;  but  we  were  not 
followed  by  the  other  boats,  twenty  in  number.  We 
perceived  a  pretty  strong  boat  coming  towards  us  by 
the  use  of  oars  ;  we  did  not  pay  much  attention  to  it, 
when  suddenly  it  tacked  about  and  left  us.  We  sus- 
pected that  it  was  a  little  pirate  (there  are  many  of 
them  in  these  parts)  ;  desiring  to  attack  us  it  concluded 
on  approaching  that  we  had  too  many  people  on  board. 
On  the  llth,  we  joined  M.  de  Grasse's  squadron  and 
M.  de  Custine,  and  I  went  on  board  of  the  Ville  de 
Paris  which  he  commanded.  He  received  us  very  well 
and  gave  us  dinner.  We  learnt  that  he  had  had  an 
engagement  with  the  English  squadron  a  few  days 
before.  M.  de  Grasse  had  the  advantage,  but  he  did 
not  pursue  the  English  because  he  was  unwilling  to 
leave  the  Cliesapeake  bay,  the  rather  because  he  was 
expecting  the  ships  which  M.  de  Barras  was  bringing 
to  him,  and  which  we  had  left  at  Newport  when  the 
army  departed  from  that  city  in  the  month  of  June, 


They  might  have  been  intercepted  by  the  English,  but 
fortunately  they  joined  M.  de  Grasse. 

Two  days  afterwards,  the  squadron  having  left  the 
bay,  two  English  frigates  entered  it  to  cut  loose  the 
buoys  of  the  squadron  which  had  been  left  there; 
they  had  not  time  to  escape,  and  were  captured  upon 
the  return  of  the  squadron. 

M.  de  Grasse's  squadron,  after  its  junction  with  M. 
de  Barras,  was  composed  of  more  than  forty  ships  or 
frigates.  I  saw  several  naval  officers  of  my  acquaint- 
ance, and  was  on  board  of  the  Due  de  Bourgogne. 
Then  being  in  haste  to  land,  I  hired  a  little  American 
boat  on  which  I  embarked  with  M.  de  Lauberdiere,^ 
who  had  followed  M.  de  Custine.  We  were  to  ascend 
the  James  river  and  join  M.  de  la  Fayette,  to  inform 
him  of  our  arrival,  and  that  I  might  prepare  every- 
thing that  w^as  necessary  for  the  arrival  of  our  troops. 
There  was  some  imprudence  in  embarking  in  so  small 
a  boat  and  upon  a  very  stormy  river,  and  I  heard  it 
mentioned  to  M.  de  Grasse  who  saw  us  start  from  his 
stern-gallery.  We  had  scarcely  room  to  lie  down  in 
this  little  boat,  and  we  were  in  the  open  air.  It  rained 
the  next  day,  and  we  were  penetrated  to  the  skin. 
Moreover  the  captain  was  very  little  acquainted  with 

All  aide-de-camp  to  M.  Rocliarabeau. 


this  river,  and  there  were  many  sandbanks  so  that  we 
touched  several  times.  At  last,  after  having  wandered 
for  a  long  time  in  an  unknown  river,  we  landed  two 
leagues  from  Williamsburg,  where  M.  de  la  Fayette 
was  posted ;  at  least  that  is  what  a  woman  told  us 
whom  we  met.  There  was  no  house  or  place  where 
we  landed,  and  we  were  compelled  to  go  a  long  way 
on  foot.  At  length  we  arrived  at  a  deserted  house 
where  were  two  persons  who  let  us  in,  but  neither 
furniture  nor  provisions.  We  lay  upon  the  floor. 
The  next  day,  having  hired  horses,  we  proceeded  to 
Williamsburg,  the  capital  of  Virginia.  It  consists  of 
only  a  single  street,  but  very  broad  and  very  hand- 
some. Two  or  three  public  buildings,  pretty  large, 
are  also  to  be  seen  there.  We  got  in  at  the  quarters 
of  M.  de  la  Fayette,  where  I  found  M.  de  Chastellux, 
who  had  arrived  the  evening  before,  with  M.  de  Roch- 
ambeau  and  M.  de  Washington.  They  had  got 
in  advance  by  making  forced  marches  across  Mary- 
land and  Virginia.  This  latter  province  is  General 
Washington's  birthplace  ;  he  has  there  a  very  hand- 
some dwelling-house,  where  he  received  our  two 
generals  :  he  had  not  been  in  his  own  country  since 
the  beginning  of  the  war.  A  body  of  Americans  under 
the  command  of  M.  de  la  Fayette  were  encamped  near 
Williamsburg.     Tbree    French  regiments,  which  M. 


de  Grasse  had  brought,  were  joined  to  them,  forming 
a  body  of  3000  men.  They  were  the  regiments  of 
Gatinois,  d'  Agenois  and  Touraine.  I  found  among 
my  acquaintances  the  Count  d'  Autichamp,  who  com- 
manded one  of  the  regiments  ;  he  spoke  much  to  me 
of  my  uncle,  settled  in  St.  Domingo,  with  whom  he 
was  connected.  From  this  day,  I  set  to  work,  although 
without  a  piece  of  paper  or  an  employee  or  a  bag  of 
Hour  at  my  disposal ;  I  was  completely  overwhelmed, 
which  I  still  rememlDer  now  that  I  am  copying  this 
thirteen  years  afterwards.  The  Baron  de  Steuben,  a 
German  general  officer  in  the  service  of  America,  gave 
a  great  dinner  to  our  generals,  and  I  went  to  it.  The 
next  day  the  French  and  American  generals,  went 
on  board  of  the  YiUe  de  Paris  to  see  M.  de  Grasse.  I 
sent  a  note  to  M.  de  Rochambeau  to  obtain  some  sup- 
plies from  the  navy  in  wines,  flour,  &c.  On  the  17th 
and  the  following  days  I  worked  much  with  M.  de  la 
Fayette,  who  was  pleased  to  assist  me  in  providing  for 
our  troops.  It  is  difficult  to  employ  more  order,  pa- 
tience and  integrity  in  the  discussion  of  business 
matters  ;  he  reminded  me  of  Scipio  African  us  in  Spain ; 
as  young  and  as  modest  as  he,  he  already  had  the 
reputation  of  a  skilful  warrior  ;  for  the  last  campaign 
which  he  had  just  made,  whilst  sustaining  himself 
against  Cornwallis  with  inferior  forces,  had  procured 
him  much  glory,  and  justly  so. 


On  the  21st  and  22d  my  work  Avas  doubled  ;  I  caused 
ovens  to  be  constructed,  but  I  was  in  want  of  tools  and 
I  had  to  run  about  much  and  negotiate  to  obtain  even 
a  hammer.  Our  generals  came  and  deposited  with 
me  800,000  livres  in  piasters,  which  M.  de  Grasse  had 
brought  for  us.  The  grenadiers  and  chasseurs  also  ar- 
rived;  everybody  applied  to  me  for  bread,  vehicles 
and  all  possible  necessaries.  I  was  alone  and  had  not 
a  single  employee  to  assist  me.  On  the  2od  I  was  sick, 
owing  to  fatigue  ;  I  had  spent  part  of  the  previous 
nights  on  my  feet.  In  the  evening  I  threw  myself  on 
a  bed  ;  fortunately  two  employees  arrived  who  made 
a  report  to  me  and  to  whom  I  gave  orders  from  my 
bed.  During  the  night,  as  I  was  more  oppressed  than 
drowsy,  the  floor  of  the  chamber  adjoining  that  in 
which  I  was  suddenly  broke  in  pieces  with  a  great 
noise.  This  accident  proceeded  from  the  money  which 
I  had  deposited  there ;  it  was  on  the  ground  floor  and 
underneath  was  a  cellar,  fortunately  not  very  deep  : 
the  floor,  being  too  weak,  had  been  unable  to  bear 
the  weight  of  these  800,000  livres  in  silver.  My  ser- 
vant, who  lay  in  this  room,  fell  down  the  length  of  a 
beam,  but  was  not  hurt. 

At  last,  on  the  25th,  the  intendant  arrived,  as  well 
as  M.  de  Villemanzy,  the  commissary  of  war.  In  the 
evening  we  had  a  conference  with  M.  de  Rochambeau ; 


we  were  then  in  the  greatest  anxiety  on  the  subject 
of  subsistence.  The  country  in  which  we  were  was 
exhausted  by  the  Americans  and  laid  waste  by  the  En- 
gUsh  ;  and  our  troops  which  had  made  forced  marches 
could  not  be  followed  by  the  magazines.  A  vessel 
forming  a  part  of  M.  de  Barras's  squadron  was  an- 
chored near  to  us,  laden  with  flour  which  it  had  been 
to  procure  at  Baltimore  or  Annapolis,  for  the  squadron. 
I  persuaded  M.  de  Rochambeau  to  ask  M.  de  Villebrun, 
who  commanded  this  vessel,  and  with  whom  we  were 
all  well  acquainted,  to  spare  us  a  part  of  this  flour;  I 
undertook  to  draw  up  the  letter  and  it  had  the  desired 
success.  I  note  it  because  M.  de  Rochambeau,  often 
fearing  to  compromise  himself,  had  on  this  occasion  a 
sort  of  repugnance  to  writing,  and  this  feeling  was 
often  injurious  to  him. 

On  the  27th,  M.  de  Chastellux  had  a  very  lively 
and  very  unbecoming  scene  with  M.  Daure,  the  steward 
of  provisions,  because  there  was  only  bread  for  two 
days,  whilst  he  had  announced  enough  of  it  for  four, 
when  M.  de  Chastellux  had  to  commence  his  march 
the  next  day.  I  do  not  like  this  steward,  nor,  in 
general,  the  superintendent  of  the  provisions,  who  is 
too  pretentious  and  often  hinders  business  by  his  scru- 
pulous formalities.  But,  at  present,  M.  Daure  was 
not  at   all  in  the  wrong;    without  vehicles,  without 


wood,  in  a  country  absolutely  stripped  of  everything, 
where  it  was  necessary  to  create  everything,  it  was 
impossible  for  him  to  do  better;  and  M.  de  Chastellux 
was  not  only  unjust  at  that  time,  but  he  had  not  the 
manner  of  a  philosopher  or  of  a  man  of  quality. 

On  the  2Stli,  the  French  and  American  troops  came 
in  front  of  Yorktown,  four  leagues  from  Williamsburg, 
where  Cornwallis  had  shut  himself  up  with  his  whole 
army.  They  took  post  half  a  league  from  the  city  and 
invested  it,  which  was  done  without  opposition.  I 
remained  at  Williamsburg,  where  our  principal  esta- 
blishments were,  and  where  it  was  often  necessary  to 
provide  for  the  service  of  the  hospitals  :  I  had  300  sick 
persons  and  a  single  employee;  of  these  300  sick,  10 
officers  were  harder  to  please  than  all  the  rest. 

October,  1781.  I  learnt  that  some  reconnaissances 
had  already  been  made  in  front  of  York.  M.  Drouillet, 
an  officer  of  the  regiment  of  Agenois,  was  wounded 
there,  and  a  hussar  of  Lauzun's  legion  was  killed.  The 
English  also  abandoned  some  redoubts  without  resist- 
ance. On  the  3d,  I  was  five  miles  from  Williamsburg 
at  Trubell  Landing  to  witness  the  landing  of  our  heavy 
artillery,  and  some  other  effects  which  we  were  im- 
patiently expecting.  To  day  a  body  of  "English  troops 
which  occupied  Gloucester,  opposite  to  York,  desired 
to  prevent  M.  de  Lauzun  and  M.  de  Choisy,  who  com- 


manded  at  this  point,  from  occupying  a  position  where 
they  wished  to  encamp.  M.  de  Lauzun  charged  them 
with  the  cavahy  of  the  legion  and  drove  them  back ; 
it  was  Tarleton,  a  partizan,  very  well  known  in  Ame- 
rica, who  commanded  the  English  ;  he  was  wounded 
and  thrown  from  his  horse  and  had  50  men  killed  or 
wounded.  We  lost  3  men  and  11  were  wounded,  3 
of  whom  were  officers,  among  whom  was  M.  de  Dillon. 

I  learnt  these  details  on  the  4th,  on  going  to  the 
camp  ;  but  I  was  obliged  to  return  the  same  evening. 
It  was  already  cold  and  I  made  a  fire  on  the  5th.  I 
learnt  that  the  English  admiral  Digby,  who  was  ex- 
pected from  Europe  with  a  strong  squadron,  had  ar- 
rived with  only  three  vessels,  two  of  which  were  in  a 
bad  condition.  We  also  learnt  that  the  English  had 
a  vessel  so  much  damaged  in  the  last  engagement  with 
M.  de  Grasse,  that  they  had  been  compelled  to  aban- 
don it  and  burn  it  at  sea.  M.  de  Grasse,  nevertheless, 
spoke  with  much  modesty  of  this  engagement,  and  I 
heard  him  say  that  it  was  only  an  encounter  between 
two  advanced  guards. 

On  the  6th,  I  went  to  the  camp  in  the  evening.  The 
trenches  were  open  on  this  same  day.  I  trembled  lest 
it  should  be  murderous,  for  we  had  not  the  means  to 
afford  assistance!  I  spent  the  evening  with  some 
officers  of  the  artillery  and  of  the  engineers,  who  were 


awaiting  the  result.  At  nine  o'clock,  a  pretty  brisk 
fire  was  commenced  at  the  attack  of  the  left.  There 
we  had  an  artillery  officer  dangerously  wounded  and 
also  six  grenadiers  wounded.  On  the  right  there  was 
a  soldier  wounded.  I  visited  the  ambulance  and  an 
especial  depot  which  I  had  placed  near  the  trenches, 
to  which  I  had  gone  as  near  as  possible.  I  saw  the 
city  perfectly  well  and  the  English  flag  which  was  float- 
ing upon  the  intrenchments. 

On  the  7th,  I  returned  in  the  evening  to  Williams- 
burg and  continued  to  attend  to  the  hospital  which 
was  becoming  filled.  It  is  nothing  to  see  the  unfor- 
tunate when  we  can  render  them  assistance  ;  but  it  is 
cruel  to  be  unable  to  aid  them,  and  this  is  what  I  ex- 
perienced. The  effects  and  the  employees  of  the  hos- 
pitals had  not  yet  arrived,  and  they  could  not  have 
arrived,  owing  to  the  forced  marches  which  we  had 
made,  half  by  land  and  half  by  water.  We  might  at 
least  have  been  able  to  land  the  effects  indispensable 
for  the  service.  I  had  made  the  remark.  But  the 
generals  rarely  listen  to  the  administrators,  when  they 
do  not  themselves  possess  the  spirit  of  foresight. 

I  learnt  on  the  8th  that  we  had  had  only  5  or  6 
men  wounded  in  the  trenches. 

On  the  9th  we  commenced  discharging  our  batteries 
at  night;  on  the  10th,  in  the  morning,  the  fire  became 


very  brisk  and  was  kept  up  all  day ;  we  had  artillery 
of  the  first  class,  and  the  Americans,  for  their  part,  had 
large  cannons  and  displayed  great  activity;  but  they 
did  not  approach  the  perfection  of  our  gunners,  who 
were  the  admii-ation  of  General  Washington  ;  it  is  true 
they  had  perfect  instruments,  so  to  speak  ;  the  cannons 
were  new  and  the  balls  perfectly  suited  to  their  calibre. 

In  busying  myself  to-day  about  something  connected 
with  my  employment,  I  had  occasion  to  enter  the 
trenches,  in  a  place  where  a  mortar-battery  had 
been  established,  which  was  firing  upon  one  of  the 
redoubts  of  the  enemy  ;  it  replied  with  some  howitzers 
which  did  no  damage.  I  mounted  this  trench  with 
M.  de  St.  Simon,  who  commanded  it,  and  to  whom  I 
had  occasion  to  write,  some  days  before,  a  pretty  de- 
cided letter;  we  exchanged  some  friendly  explanations. 
Some  deserters  from  the  enemy  came  to  us,  who  told 
us  that  our  fire  greatly  annoyed  the  English.  According 
to  their  account,  it  was  suspected  that  Cornwallis  de- 
sired to  escape  ;  it  would  have  been  possible  for  him 
to  do  so  by  passing,  during  the  night,  across  to 
Gloucester,  but  where  would  he  have  gone  ?  He  had 
a  long  journey  to  make  to  reach  Carolina,  where  the 
English  held  some  places ;  he  ran  the  risk  of  perishing 
from  want. 

Next  day,  the  Ijlth,  our  batteries  set  fire  to  an  En- 
glish ship  of  44  guns. 


During  the  night  of  the  11th -12th,  they  made 
the  second  parallel,  which  caused  the  wounding  of 
only  two  or  three  men.  I  was  at  Williamsburg,  al- 
ways busy  about  our  sick  men  ;  I  had  four  hundred 
of  them  and  thirteen  othcers.  Besides  there  was  always 
the  same  want  of  assistance  ;  they  required  of  me  sup- 
plies for  the  ambulance,  for  M.  de  Choisy's  division, 
encamped  in  front  of  Gloucester;  I  found  myself  in 
the  most  cruel  embarrassment  and  on  the  eve  of  seeing 
the  service  fail  which  was  especially  entrusted  to  me. 
And  that  would  have  happened  if  we  had  not  had  at 
this  period  from  two  to  three  hundred  wounded  ;  that 
might  be.  Therefore  I  could  not  think  without  dis- 
tress of  M.  de  Chastellux's  remarks,  of  whom  I  had 
required  vehicles  from  the  North  river,  only  for  carry- 
ing some  effects,  at  the  rate  of  250  sick  persons  — 
"  We  shall  not  have  fifty  sick  !  "  And  already  at  the 
beginning  of  the  siege  w^e  had  four  hundred  of  them. 
Fortunately  I  had  procured  some  assistance,  on  my 
own  account,  which  allowed  me  to  wait  a  little.  At 
last,  on  the  loth,  some  supplies  reached  me  wdiich  I 
made  haste  to  send  off  for  the  army.  I  went  thither 
myself  and  lay  in  the  tent  of  my  friend  La  Cheze. 
There  was  much  firing  during  this  night  and  twenty- 
three  wounded  men  were  carried  to  the  ambulance. 
I  again   returned   to  the   trenches,  in  a  battery  from 


which  we  discovered  very  plainly  all  York  river,  Glou- 
cester, the  English  buildings  and  three  of  our  ships 
which  formed  the  entrance  to  the  river. 

In  the  evening  we  carried,  by  main  force,  two 
redoubts,  which  were  captured  in  an  instant,  one  by 
the  French,  the  other  by  the  Americans.  The  former 
were  commanded  by  the  Baron  de  Viomenil,  having 
under  him  the  younger  M.  de  Deux  Fonts ;  the  latter 
by  M.  de  la  Fayette,  having  under  him  M  de  Gimat, 
an  American  colonel,  a  Frenchman  by  birth.  We  lost 
during  our  attack  about  30  men  killed  and  60  wounded, 
of  whom  three  were  officers  of  the  regiment  of  Gatinois 
and  M.  de  Lameth,  assistant  quarter  master  general 
and  nephew  of  Marshal  de  Broglie.  I  spent  two  or 
three  hours  at  the  ambulance  in  the  midst  of  these 
wounded,  a  part  of  whom  I  despatched  to  Williams- 
burg. At  this  time  I  had  more  than  five  hundred 
sick,  of  whom  twenty  were  officers. 

I  received  some  details  respecting  the  attack  upon 
the  two  redoubts.  Our  soldiers  displayed  great  courage 
and  liveliness.  The  English  had  about  two  hundred 
men  in  the  redoubt  attacked  by  the  French  ;  they 
made  one  or  two  charges  before  abandoning  it,  leaving 
only  thirty  men  in  it,  who  surrendered  at  the  instant 
when  our  party  penetrated  into  the  fort.  The  Ame- 
ricans met  with  less  resistance  than  we  and  lost  only 
six  men. 


On  the  16  th,  I  intended  to  go  to  the  camp  and  to 
dine  with  General  Washington,  who  had  invited  me, 
but  many  wounded  men  reached  me,  which  compelled 
me  to  remain  at  Williamsburg.     They  had  been  in  a 
sortie  which  the  English  had  made  on  the  night  of  the 
15th-16th,  and  in  which  at  first  they  had  been  suc- 
cessful.    They  spiked  four  cannons  and  took  a  captain 
of  the   regiment  of  Agenois  prisoner,  but  our  troops 
soon  rallied  and  the  English  were  repulsed.     Our  works 
were  nevertheless  continued  vigorously;  we  fired  upon 
the  English  by  ricochet,  which  greatly  annoyed  them, 
and  they  might  have  feared  being  captured  sword  in 
hand.     Therefore,  on  the   17th,  at  noon,  they  asked 
to  capitulate   and  the   firing  ceased.     M.  de  la  Cheze 
had  the  kindness  to  send  me  word  of  it  immediately; 
I  greatly  rejoiced  at  it  as  a  citizen,  and  also  for  this 
especial   reason,  that  I  perceived  in  this  capitulation 
the  end  of  our  uneasiness  respecting  the  service  of  the 
hospitals.     There  were  still  some  difhculties  respecting 
the  articles  of  the  capitulation ;  they  even  recommenced 
firing.     At  last,  on  the  next  day,  the  18th,  at  noon, 
everything   was   concluded.     Cornwallis    surrendered 
as  prisoner  of  war  with  all  his  troops,  amounting  to  a 
body  of  8000  men.     It  was  not  until  the  next  day, 
the  19th,  that  they  defiled  in  front  of  our  troops  and 
the  Americans.     Cornwallis  said  that  he  was  sick  and 


did  not  appear.  The  general  who  commanded  in  his 
stead  wished  to  give  up  his  sword  to  M,  de  Rocham- 
beau,  but  he  made  a  sign  to  him  that  he  ought  to 
address  himself  to  General  Washington.  The  English 
displayed  much  arrogance  and  ill  humour  during  this 
melancholy  ceremony  ;  they  particularly  affected  great 
contempt  for  the  Americans.  Being  detained  else- 
where by  our  service,  I  was  unable  to  be  present  at  this 
spectacle,  which  would  have  greatly  interested  me. 

On  the  21st,  I  went  to  see  the  city  of  York.  I 
visited  our  works  and  those  of  the  English  ;  I  perceived 
the  effect  of  our  bombs  and  balls.  I  made  this  visit 
with  M.  de  Viomenil,  who  had  been  to  see  Cornwallis, 
who  had  not  yet  appeared  ;  he  had  even  sent  a  refusal 
to  Mr.  Washington,  who  had  invited  him  to  dinner. 
M.  de  Viomenil  invited  him,  and  the  English  general 
accepted.  M.  de  Viomenil  invited  me  to  this  dinner, 
but  having  accepted  an  invitation  to  M.  de  Chastel- 
lux's,  I  was  obliged  for  this  day  to  decline.  I  regretted 
that  I  could  not  be  present  at  this  first  meeting  of 
Cornwallis  with  the  French  and  American  generals. 
He  behaved  well  there  and  praised  our  troops,  espe- 
cially the  artillery,  which  he  said  was  the  first  in 

M.  de  Rochambeau  had  gone  to-day  on  board  of 
the  Ville  de  Paris  to  see  M.  de  Grasse  for  the  purpose 


of  thanking  him  and  conferring  with  him  ;  it  is  certain 
that  we  were  greatly  indebted  to  him.  Bat  it  was 
time  for  the  siege  to  end.  M.  de  Grasse  spoke  of  going 

M.  de  Lauzun  was  entrusted  by  M.  de  Rochambeau 
with  the  carrying  of  the  news  of  the  capture  of  York 
to  France  and  he  embarked  on  the  same  day  on  the 
Surveillante.  I  saw  him  at  the  moment  of  his  de- 
parture ;  he  perceived  me,  got  off  his  horse  and  asked 
me  what  were  my  commands  for  France. 

The  English  and  Hessian  troops,  prisoners  of 
war,  also  left  the  camp  ;  they  were  very  fine-looking 
men.  There  was  also  a  battalion  of  English  grenadiers 
of  great  height  and  good  appearance.  The  remainder 
of  the  English  were  small ;  there  were  some  Scotch 
troops,  strong  and  good  soldiers.  They  proceeded 
towards  Williamsburg.  I  went  to  visit  their  camp  ; 
I  saw  them  make  their  soup,  go  for  wood,  etc.  The 
Germans  preserved  order  and  a  certain  discipline ;  on 
the  contrary,  there  was  very  little  order  among  the 
English,  who  were  proud  and  arrogant.  There  was 
no  call  for  this  ;  they  had  not  even  made  a  handsome 
defense,  and,  at  this  very  moment,  were  beaten  and  dis- 
armed by  peasants  who  were  almost  naked,  whom  they 
pretended  to  despise  and  who,  nevertheless,  were  tlieir 



Nothing  new  occurred  until  the  liTth.  Our  troops 
were  still  at  York  and  its  vicinity.  Cornwallis  dined 
with  General  Washington  and,  successively,  with  all  the 
French  generals.  On  the  24th,  M.  de  Deux  Fonts  set 
out  for  France  on  board  of  a  frigate  ;  he  was  charged 
by  M.  de  Rochambeau  to  transmit  to  the  ministry  the 
statement  of  the  corn  which  he  demanded  for  the  army. 
He  required  of  the  intendant  a  memoir  for  M.  de  Vil- 
lemanzey  and  me  and  added  to  the  note  which  the  in- 
tendant had  given  me  "  an  accomplished  person  of  the 
greatest  distinction.  " 

The  weather  changed  from  cold  to  warm  ;  but  the 
temperature  was  much  milder  than  that  of  Rhode 
Island.  The  climate  of  Virginia  is  much  more  tem- 

At  this  time  the  regiments  which  M.  de  Grasse  had 
brought  with  him  from  our  island  reembarked. 

There  was  smiie  conversation  between  the  French 
and  American  officers.  These  latter  seemed  displeased 
at  the  civility  shown  to  the  English  prisoners,  who, 
for  their  part,  were  \ery  attentive  to  us.  The  quarrel 
also  arose  from  the  fact  that  the  French  were  forbid- 
den to  purchase  some  goods  that  were  in  York, 
whilst  liberty  to  do  so  had  been  allowed  to  the  Am- 
ericans ;  undoubtedly,  the  motive  was  that  the  latter, 
being  in    want  of  everything    and   badly   paid,   had 


been  desirous  of  being  allowed  to  buy  merchandise 

Novemher.  The  last  of  October  and  the  first  days  of 
November  were  fine  ;  the  nights  were  cool,  with  white 
frost;  but  by  day  the  sun  shone  and  it  was  even  fine. 
At  the  same  period  last  year  at  Newport  we  had  snow 
and  very  sharp  cold. 

The  troops  went  into  winter  quarters  on  the  first  of 
November.  Part  remained  at  York;  the  remainder 
came  to  Newport  ^  where  M.  de  Rochambeau  estab- 
lished his  head  quarters.  I  secured  a  very  pretty 
lodging  there,  where  I  settled  myself  with  my  friend 
La  Cheze.  We  kept  a  very  good  house  there  ;  and 
altogether  we  led  a  very  pleasant  and  quiet  life,  but 
not  very  fruitful  in  events.  Therefore  my  journal  is 
about  to  become  barren. 

M.  de  Grasso  had  sailed  on  the  4th,  and  the  frigate 
which  conveyed  M.  de  Deux  Fonts,  having  been  de- 
layed for  some  time,  went  away  on  tlie  1st. 

On  the  2 2d  a  pavilion  took  fire,  which  was  attached 
to  the  hospital  for  the  officers,  then  amounting  to 
twenty-two,  of  whom  several  were  severely  wounded. 
We  had  time  to  remove  them  elsewhere  without  any 
accident  and  lost  only  a  few  goods.     This   pavilion 

I  In  Viri^iuia. 


was  distant  only  5  or  6  toises  from  the  large  hospital 
which,  fortunately,  was  not  reached. 

Decemher,  1781.  Another  fire  broke  out  a  short  dis- 
tance from  the  American  hospital,  which  was  burnt 
up  in  a  short  time.     A  sick  soldier  perished. 

January,  1782.  The  weather  grew  warm  from  the 
early  part  of  January  and  seemed  to  announce  the 

On  the  5th,  we  learnt  the  capture  of  St.  Eustacia  by 
the  Marquis  de  Bouille.  The  arrival  of  Monsieur  de 
la  Mothe-Piquet  at  our  islands  and  ten  ships  also  men- 
tioned. This  event  and  these  new  circumstances 
seems  to  promise  us  the  peace  which  we  began  to  desire. 

On  the  7th,  the  French  frigate  la  Sibelle  anchored 
at  the  entrance  of  the  bay.  Having  left  Brest  in  the 
end  of  October,  she  met  near  the  Bermudas  with  a 
French  vessel  which  had  informed  her  that  the  French 
army  was  in  Virginia.  She  was  entrusted  with  two 
millions  for  us  :  she  brought  the  news  of  the  birth  of 
a  dauphin.  On  the  same  day  letters  reached  us  from 
Philadelphia,  announcing  the  sending  of  a  French 
corps  of  4000  men  to  Minorca,  to  capture  that  island, 
jointly  with  the  Spaniards.  On  the  10th  we  received 
our  letters  which  came  by  the  Sibelle. 

The  sudden  changes  of  the  weather  in  this  province, 
as  in  the  north,  must  be  injurious  to   agriculture^  for 


instance,  it  does  not  seem  to  me  possible  in  such  a 
climate  to  have  olive  trees  and  vines,  which  the 
warmth  of  the  summer  would  recommend  to  the  cul- 
tivator. We  had  cold  weather  on  the  5th  and  the 
9th ;  my  ink  and  my  wine  froze  in  my  chamber, 
where  I  had  fire  continually ;  the  next  day  we  some- 
times had  16°  above  zero. 

February,  17S2.  At  this  period  I  finished  a  great 
many  letters  and  transmitted  them  to  the  Baron  de 
Viomenil,  who  was  preparing  to  start  for  France  with 
some  officers  on  board  of  the  frigate  Hermione.  She 
set  sail  on  the  2d,  at  the  same  time  with  the  frigate 
Diligente,  commanded  by  M.  de  Clumard  who  pro- 
ceeded to  Boston  and  who  ran  aground  owing  to  the 
fault  of  the  pilot.  M.  de  Clumard  succeeded,  with 
great  difficulty,  in  saving  himself  and  his  crew ;  twenty- 
three  sailors  or  soldiers  perished  from  cold  and  fatigue  ; 
the  vessel  gradually  disappeared  and  it  was  impossible 
to  save  anything  from  it. 

March.  The  news  of  the  capture  of  the  island  of 
Saint  Christopher  by  M.  de  Grasse,  which  was  spread 
for  some  time  past,  was  confirmed.  Two  engagements 
between  M.  de  Grasse  and  Admiral  Hood,  in  which 
w^e  had  the  advantage,  were  also  mentioned. 

The  weather  had  the  same  successions  of  cold,  snow, 
light  rain  and  very  fine  weather. 


M.  de  la  Luzerne  arrived  at  Williamsburg  on  the 
25th  ;  I  received  him  at  dinner.  He  had  just  learnt 
from  some  English  papers  that  a  great  convoy  which 
had  set  out  from  Brest,  escorted  by  M.  de  Guichen, 
had  been  scattered  by  a  gale  of  wind  and  that  the 
English  had  captured  a  part  of  them  ;  M.  de  Guichen 
had  been  compelled  to  return  to  Brest,  which  must 
have  greatly  delayed  the  projected  attack  upon 

April.  The  first  days  of  the  month  were  fine.  I 
made  a  voyage  to  York.  We  had  some  letters  which 
gave  us  no  interesting  news,  except  from  our  families. 
My  wife  and  children  were  well. 

May.  No  occurrences.  The  heat  began  to  increase. 
We  received  news  of  some  en«;ati'ements  between  M. 
de  Grasse  and  Rodney  on  the  9th  and  18th  of  April; 
but  the  truth  gradually  came  to  light.  M.  de  Roch- 
ambeau,  relying  upon  a  worthless  newspaper  of 
Grenada,  at  first  had  cannons  fired  in  token  of  victory.^ 

June.  But  about  the  20th  of  June  we  learnt  that, 
on  the  contrary,  we  had  met  with  a  defeat  and  that 
the  ViUe  de  Paris   had   fallen   into  the   hands  of  the 

'  I  h;ne  l)efore  nie  the  Broadside  which  gives  the  details  of 
the  supposed  victory.  It  is  dated  at  Martinique,  le  17  Avril, 
1782  and  is  headed  in  hirge  capitals,  Detail  du  Combat  Naval 



English.^  I  had  one  of  the  severe  heart-aches  to  which 
I  am  subject. 

At  this  period  we  prepared  to  set  out  for  the  North 
river,  after  being  in  winter  quarters  for  eight  months. 
The  heat  kept  up  between  28°  and  30°  from  the  be- 
ginning of  June. 

On  the  23d  of  June,  the  first  division  of  the  army 
began  its  march. 

July.  I  only  started  on  the  4th  of  July  with  the 
fourth  division,  consisting  of  the  regiment  of  Saintonge 
and  a  detachment  of  artillery,  the  whole  under  the 
command  of  M.  de  Custine.  Baltimore  was  the  point 
of  reunion  for  all  the  troops.  Our  corps  stopped  and 
encamped  on  the  first  day  at  a  place  called  Drinking 
spring,  only  nine  miles  from  Williamsburg.  The 
country  is  like  the  environs  of  this  last  mentioned  city, 
that  is  to  say,  it  is  dry  and  covered  with  wood.  We 
met  with  nothing  there  but  Indian  corn,  apple  trees 
and  some  peach  trees.  I  saw  very  little  tobacco  there, 
although  this  is  the  chief  production  of  Virginia,  and 
the  part  which  we  were  traversing,  situated  between 
the  James  river  and  the  York  river,  is  renowned  for 

'  1  have  elsewhere  cited  the  account  of  this  disastrous  battle 
as  given  by  Count  de  Grasse.  It  is  in  the  Archives  of  the  French 
Navy  Department  and  inscribed  Jfe»iO /res  c?«  C orate  de  Grasse, 
Nos.  15,  186  and  6,  397. 


this  crop  ;  as  to  wheat,  I  saw  only  one  field  of  it  in 

On  the  15th,  we  lay  at  Bird's  Tavern.  The  country 
seemed  to  me  to  be  still  worse.  I  was  pretty  well 
lodged.  I  was  billeted  at  the  house  of  some  Americans, 
who  received  us  by  private  contract.  This  is  contrary 
to  their  laws  and  usages ;  but,  generally,  they  submit, 
with  pretty  good  grace,  to  this  unpleasant  duty.  As 
yet  I  had  no  sick  persons ;  I  was  ordered  to  receive 
not  only  those  of  my  division,  but  also  the  sick  of  the 
troops  which  marched  in  advance  and  who  were  left 
for  me. 

On  the  6th,  we  stopped  at  Ratelof  House.  The 
country  is  still  barren  and  sandy.  On  the  7th,  we 
encamped  at  New  Kent ;  it  is  not  a  village  but  the 
center  of  some  scattered  houses,  distant  from  each 
other,  in  a  county.  I  lodged  at  the  house  of  a  colonel 
whom  I  found  rather  unfriendly,  like  all  my  hosts ; 
the  women  also  seemed  to  me  very  unsociable.  All 
these  people  lead  rather  a  dull  life,  not  knowing  how 
to  employ  or  amuse  themselves.  The  dwelling  of  this 
colonel,  moreover,  was  handsome  enough  and  built  upon 
a  hill,  with  an  agreeable  prospect  which  is  rare  in 
Virginia,  where  the  country  is  flat.  A  branch  of  the 
York  river  runs  below  the  house,  in  a  valley  where  it 
would  be  possible  to  form  meadows  ;  but  all  that  is  not 


understood  by  the  Virginians.  This  valley  is  also 
watered  by  the  Pamunky,  a  small  river  which  resem- 
bles that  of  France  and  likewise  empties  into  York 

I  have  mentioned  that  we  lodged  in  the  houses  of 
the  Americans ;  but  we  only  asked  them  for  shelter. 
Every  one  took  with  him  his  provisions,  his  utensils, 
a  bed  and  sheets  and  we  put  our  hosts  to  no  expense. 
For  my  own  part  I  had  two  wagons  or  covered  vehicles, 
drawn  by  good  horses,  and  was  in  want  of  nothing. 
At  any  rate  this  kind  of  life  was  not  displeasing  to  me. 
After  having  been  on  the  road  all  morning,  I  spent  the 
evening  alone  and  quiet,  often  in  handsome  houses, 
given  up  to  my  reflections  and  happy  in  my  own  way. 

On  the  8th,  after  a  long  and  painful  march,  we 
reached  Newcastle ;  our  division  encamped  and  re- 
mained there.  The  Pamunky  flows  alongside  of  this 
village.  The  Count  de  Viomemil,  who  had  stopped 
there  with  the  third  division,  gave  a  ball.  He  was 
lodged  in  the  house  of  a  resident  who  had  a  handsome 
dwelling  and  who  derived  a  great  profit  from  a  stallion 
which  was  valued  at  two  thousand  guineas. 

On  the   5th,  we   reached   Hanovertown,  only  five 

miles  from  Newcastle.     This  city  is  situated  in  a  plain 

agreeable  enough  and  of  a  pleasant  appearance,  where 

some  handsome  dwellings  were  seen.     The  principal 



crops  still  consist  of  Indian  corn  and  I  saw  no  other 
products  there.  I  except  a  small  quantity  of  ordinary 
hemp.  There  are  in  this  county  some  rich  proprietors, 
having  a  great  number  of  negroes.  In  fact,  the  inhabit- 
ants of  these  southern  provinces  do  not  cultivate  their 
estates  themselves,  like  those  of  the  north  ;  they  have 
negro  slaves,  like  our  colonists  in  our  islands,  and  they 
themselves  lead  an  idle  life,  giving  themselves  no  con- 
cern about  anything  except  their  table.  In  general, 
they  are  not  equal  to  the  people  of  the  north,  as  re- 
gards morals  and  honesty,  and  in  some  respects  they 
are  two  different  peoples. 

On  the  11th,  we  arrived  at  Hanover  Court-House. 
I  made  the  journey  by  night.  In  the  morning,  as  it 
began  to  grow  light,  I  was  struck  by  the  beauty  of 
five  or  six  trees,  grouped  together  on  the  bank  of  the 
Pamunky.  I  dismounted  to  measure  them  and  exa- 
mine them  more  attentively.  They  were  twenty  feet 
in  circumference  and  about  eighty  feet  high,  and  also 
straight  and  of  handsome  proportions.  These  trees, 
the  handsomest  that  I  have  seen  in  America,  were 
tulip  trees. 

On  the  12th,  an  encamping  at  Brunksbridge.  It 
had  rained  in  the  night  so  that  we  were  not  very 
warm.  The  country  here  is  less  cultivated  and 
less  cleared   than   in  other  parts  of  Virginia.     So  the 


habitations  are  rarer  and  poorer  there.  I  was  lodged 
in  a  house  situated  in  the  midst  of  the  woods  and 
where  there  are  some  very  handsome  fir-trees.  I  had 
not  yet  seen  any  in  America  of  this  height ;  in  the 
vicinity  of  Williamsburg  the  fir  tree  is  common  enough  ; 
but  it  is  of  moderate  height.  I  saw  also  in  this  place 
some  handsome  oaks,  some  fruit  trees  and  especially 
peach  trees ;  the  roads  are  fine  and  solid. 

On  the  13th,  we  are  at  Bowling  Green,  a  dry  and 
barren  country,  as  usual.  Near  our  encampment  is  a 
handsome  house,  with  terraced  gardens  and  some  arti- 
ficial meadows  in  the  vicinity.  I  saw  clover  mowed 
by  some  negro  slaves,  as  I  have  mentioned.  The 
dwelling  house  which  we  see  has  not  less  than  eighty  ; 
the  species  greatly  multiplies  there.  The  children, 
boys  and  girls,  go  naked  until  ten  or  twelve  years 
old ;  the  others  have  nothing  but  a  shirt  or  some 
miserable  rags. 

On  the  14th,  we  encamped  twelve  miles  from  Fred- 
ericksburg. I  walked  in  the  surrounding  woods  ;  this 
country  seemed  to  me  below  mediocrity,  wherefore  it  is 
thinly  inhabited. 

On  the  15th,  our  division  passed  through  the  city 
of  Fredericksburg  without  stopping  there ;  it  crossed 
the  Rappahanock  river  to  go  and  encamp  on  the  other 
side,   that  is   to  say   at  Falmouth ;  this  town  is  not 


much,  but  Fredericksburg  is  considerable.  The  Rap- 
pahanock  is  not  very  broad,  very  nearly  as  the  Seine 
at  Paris.  We  could  ford  it  there  :  but  for  fear  of  ac- 
cident all  the  vehicles  were  transported  upon  ferry- 
boats, which  are  large  and  very  convenient  in  Ame- 

Mr.  Washington's  mother  and  sister  reside  at  Fred- 
ericksburg. Our  generals  and  several  officers  visited 
them.  I  left  a  hospital  establishment  at  Falmouth  ; 
we  had  sixty  sick  men  there.  To-day,  the  15th,  I 
dined  at  M.  de  Custine's.  I  mention  it  because  he 
was  lodged  in  a  handsome  house,  situated  upon  a  hill 
from  which  we  perceived  the  course  of  the  Rappahan- 
ock  and  the  cities  of  Falmouth  and  Fredericksburg 
which  made  up  a  pretty  brilliant  prospect  rather  rare 
in  America. 

On  the  17th,  the  division  marched  ;  they  encamped 
near  a  tavern  called  Peton's  Tavern  ;  the  road  to  it 
is  hilly,  in  a  barren  country.  I  went  to  lodge  three 
miles  beyond  the  camp  in  a  place  where  the  country 
was  more  agreeable.  The  house  where  I  was  is  sit- 
uated in  a  valley  where  there  was  an  orchard  planted 
symmetrically  ;  the  apple  trees  in  it  were  covered  with 

On  the  18th  we  came  to  Dumfries,  a  little  town  sit- 
uated two  leagues  from  the    Potomac    and  which  is 


watered  by  one  of  its  branches.  I  was  lodged  in  the 
house  of  a  young  Irishwoman,  twenty-six  years  old  and 
pretty  handsome ;  she  told  me  that  her  name  was 
Margaret  '•'•  *  *  and  that  she  was  of  the  ftimily  of  this 
name,  settled  in  France  and  that  she  had  a  brother, 
John  *  *  *  in  the  French  regiment  of  Walsh,  Her 
husband,  *  '•■'  '''  *  *  '^'  was  a  Scotchman  ;  she 
seemed  far  from  being  rich,  although  well  lodged. 
I  found  her  manners  easy  and  European.  She  did 
not  come  to  America  until  she  was  seventeen  years 
old  and  she  seemed  to  desire  to  leave  it.  In  the  even- 
ing I  introduced  to  her  one  of  her  fellow  countrymen, 
an  Irish  priest,  the  Abbe  Lacy,  the  chaplain  of  our 
hospital,  whom  she  received  very  well. 

The  weather  was  cooler ;  it  seems  to  me  that  from 
this  part  we  begin  to  feel  a  difference  in  the  tempera- 
ture which  perhaps  arises  from  the  country's  being 
mountainous  and  intersected  by  numerous  rivers. 

On  the  19th  we  encamped  at  Colchester  after  having 
crossed  the  Occoquon,  which  is  a  branch  of  the  Poto- 
mac. This  town  is  small  and  miserable  as  well  as  the 
country.  A  horse  had  been  stolen  from  me  at  Dum- 
fries. I  strongly  suspected  the  people  of  my  amiable 
Irishwoman,  about  whom  I  learnt  nothing  good,  any 
more  than  about  her  husband,  who  is  considered  an 
adventurer.     The  woman  is  accused  of  some  gallantries, 


which  is  rare  in  America ;  besides,  she  was  born  in 

On  the  20th  we  stopped  at  Alexandria,  a  city 
situated  upon  the  Potomac,  where  ships  of  fifty  guns 
can  approach.  This  city  is  perfectly  well  situated  for 
becoming  commercial.  Therefore  they  have  built 
much  there ;  it  may  become  considerable,  still  ii  is  not 
much.  General  Washington's  residence,  that  in  which 
he  was  born,  is  situated  between  Colchester  and  Alex- 
andi'ia.  Mrs.  Washington  had  arrived  there  the  even- 
ing before.  She  invited  M.  de  Custine,  who  commanded 
the  division  to  which  I  was  attached,  to  go  and  dine 
at  her  house  with  some  officers.  He  proposed  to  me 
to  go  thither  and  we  proceeded  thither,  to  the  number 
of  ten  persons.  Mrs.  Washington  is  a  woman  of  about 
fifty  years  of  age  ;  she  is  small  and  fat,  her  appearance 
is  respectable.  She  was  dressed  very  plainly  and  her 
manners  were  simple  in  all  respects  ;  she  had  with  her 
three  other  ladies,  her  relations.  As  to  the  house  it 
is  a  country  residence,  the  handsomest  that  I  have  yet 
seen  in  America,  it  is  symmetrically  built  and  has  two 
stories,  counting  the  false  roofs,  wherein  some  pretty 
chambers  have  been  constructed.  All  the  rooms  are 
furnished  w4th  taste. 

There  are  in  the  places  around,  many  huts  for  the 
negroes,   of  whom  the  general  owns  a  large  number, 


who  are  necessary  to  him  for  his  large  possessions, 
which  are  supposed  to  amount  to  ten  thousand  acres 
of  land.  (The  acre  is  very  nearly  of  the  same  extent 
as  our  arpent.)  Among  these  some  of  good  quality  is 
found,  and  I  have  observed  some  of  it  of  this  sort.  A 
large  part  is  woodland,  where  Mr.  Washington,  before 
the  war,  enjoyed  the  pleasure  of  the  chase,  which  had 
inclined  him  to  the  military  life  which  he  has  since 
led.  The  environs  of  his  house  are  not  fertile  and 
the  trees  that  we  see  there  do  not  appear  to  be  large. 
Even  the  garden  is  barren.  What  decided  the  gen- 
eral's parents  to  choose  this  dwelling  place  is  the  sit- 
uation which  is  very  handsome.  The  Potomac  flows 
at  the  foot  of  the  garden  and  the  largest  ships  of  war 
can  anchor  there.  It  has  difierent  branches  of  a  kind 
of  bays  and  in  this  place  is  about  half  a  league  broad. 
The  whole  make  a  very  agreeable  prospect.  The 
opposite  shore  needs  rather  more  houses  and  villages. 
Taken  all  together,  it  is  a  handsome  residence  and 
worthy  of  General  Washington.  In  the  evening,  we 
left  her  respectable  company  after  having  spent  a  very 
agreeable  and  truly  interesting  day. 

On  the  21st,  we  crossed  the  Potomac ;  the  camp 
was  placed  at  Georgetown,  a  small  town,  wherein 
many  German  families  are  found.  We  then  leave 
Virginia  and  enter  Maryland. 


On  the  22d,  an  encampment  at  Bladensburg ;  this 
town  is  small,  but  agreeably  situated  and  surrounded 
by  meadows;  there  are  some  handsome  houses  built 
upon  the  hill.  I  was  very  well  lodged  in  the  house  of 
the  judge  of  the  place,  named  William  Anderson  ;  he 
had  a  handsome  family  with  whom  I  took  tea.  On  the 
23d,  we  received  the  bad  news  of  the  capture  of  one  of 
our  convoys  bound  to  the  Indies  and  of  two  ships 
which  were  escorting  it.  We  were  all  distressed  at  it, 
we  saw  peace  still  remote. 

On  the  25th,  encampment  at  Rose  Tavern.  A  march 
through  a  country  more  cultivated  than  in  Virginia, 
but  still  middling.  I  lodge  at  the  house  of  a  very  rich 
resident  named  Major  Smoden.  His  wife  invited  me 
to  dine  and  seemed  to  me  genteel,  with  the  air  of  a 
good  education,  although  she  had  never  left  her  own 
country ;  she  had  a  daughter  equally  Avell  bred.  I 
taught  them  some  words  of  French.  The  husband 
did  not  come  until  the  evening ;  I  also  supped  with 
them.  A  piece  of  ham  was  served  up  to  us,  as  at  dinner. 
They  informed  me  that  they  eat  it  at  breai^fast, 
dinner  and  supper.  Indeed  bacon  is  very  common  in 
all  this  region  and  is  very  good  food.  Major  Smoden's 
house  is  situated  near  a  little  river  called  the  Patuxet, 
which  we  crossed  yesterday  at  a  ford. 

On  the  24th,  encampment  at  Spurier's  Tavern.    All 


this  country  is  bad  and  the  buildings  indicate  poverty. 
To-day,  after  dinner,  I  saw  a  humming-  bird  very  dis- 
tinctly. I  knew  that  they  were  in  North  America, 
and  several  persons  had  already  seen  them ;  but  this 
was  the  first  for  me.  I  easily  recognized  it  from  the 
description  that  had  been  given  to  me  ;  its  small  size, 
its  quickness,  its  beak  and  its  colors  are  remarkable ; 
it  makes  a  noise  in  Hying  and  at  first  one  might  sup- 
pose that  he  saw  that  insect  which  is  called  chmoiselle 
in  some  provinces  of  France.  The}^  are  not  larger;  it 
has  also  a  peculiar  way  in  flying,  that  is  to  stop  sud- 
denly without  moving  its  wings.  I  also  saw  it  place 
itself  upon  a  shrub  and  very  near  me;  finally  I  had 
the  pleasure  of  seeing  it  for  a  long  time. 

On  the  27th,  we  arrived  at  Baltimore,  where  we 
stopped,  as  likewise  all  the  army.  This  city  is  situ- 
ated upon  a  creek  which  leads  to  the  bay ;  it  is  com- 
mercial. After  Boston  and  Philadelphia  it  is  the 
most  important  city  of  America.  From  thirteen  to 
fourteen  hundred  houses  and  from  eight  to  nine  thou- 
sand inhabitants  are  counted  there.  They  are  build- 
ing much  there  and  this  city  will  become  tiourishing. 
We  had  caused  all  our  sick  men,  as  well  from  York  as 
from  Williamsburg,  to  be  transported  to  it  by  sea  ;  we 
also  brought  a  certain  number  of  them,  so  that  I  was 


obliged  to  establish  a  pretty  considerable  hospital,  a 
part  of  which  was  made  of  boards. 

August,  1782.  It  is  said  that  peace  is  seriously  con- 
sidered. The  English  then  sent  back  a  large  number 
of  American  prisoners.  In  the  meanwhile,  M.  de 
Vaudreuil,  coming  from  St.  Domingo,  appeared  in 
these  seas  with  thirteen  ships  of  the  line  and,  after 
having  cruised  for  some  time,  he  brought  to  Boston 
five  vessels  laden  with  wheat  and  masts  which  he  had 
taken  from  the  English ;  but  one  of  his  ships  of  war 
ran  aground  on  entering  the  harbor  of  Boston  and 
was  entirely  lost.  The  frigate  I'Emeraude,  coming 
from  Newport  to  York,  captured  an  English  brig.  All 
our  heavy  artillery  left  at  York  was  brought  to  Balti- 
more, where  we  found  ourselves  all  reunited  !  But  this 
was  for  a  short  time,  Mr.  Washington  having  insisted, 
notwithstanding  the  rumor  of  peace,  that  the  army 
should  make  a  movement.  In  consequence,  M.  de 
Luzern  set  out  on  the  23d  of  August  and  proceeded 
towards  Philadelphia.  The  other  divisions  had  orders 
to  follow  and  to  set  out  successively.  I  was  attached 
to  the  last,  which  started  on  the  27th,  which  gave  me 
a  little  time  to  recover  from  a  tertian  fever,  of  which 
I  had  a  violent  attack  during  our  stay  at  Baltimore. 
I  have,  therelbre,  few  notes  respecting  this  city  and 
what   occurred    while    we    remained    there.       These 


fevers,  moreover,  were  very  prevalent  in  our  arinj  at 
this  time  and  I  believe  that  Baltimore  is  unhealthy, 
especially  in  the  low  part  which  I  occupied  and  which 
borders  on  tlie  marshes.  I  ought  not  to  forget  to 
mention  that  our  troops  were  admired  l)y  the  inhabit- 
ants of  Baltimore  for  their  handsome  bearing  and  their 
manoeuvres,  and,  indeed,  I  was  surprised  myself  that, 
after  a  march,  so  painful  owing  to  the  dust  and  the 
great  heat,  they  found  themselves  in  so  good  a  condi- 
tion. I  have  not  seen  a  better  review  at  the  camp  of 
Compeigne.  We  had  been  in  America  nearly  two  years 
and  our  soldiers  had  become  stronger ;  we  had  not  a 
recruit,  for  the  men  who  had  been  sent  to  us  from 
Europe  were  all  disciplined  and  drawn  from  old  regi- 
ments. At  one  manoeuvre  a  gun  happened  to  be 
loaded  with  a  bullet  and  a  woman  had  her  thigh 
Avounded.  She  was  an  Acadian,  about  thirty  years  of 
age  ;  she  was  well  attended  to  and  her  wound  was  not 
serious.  I  remark,  on  this  occasion,  that  there  is  at 
Baltimore  a  quarter  entirelj-  composed  of  Acadian 
families,  where  they  speak  nothing  but  French. 

On  the  27th  we  started  and  encamped  twelve  miles 
from  Baltimore  at  Great  Falls;  I  made  the  journey 
in  a  cabriolet,  being  still  very  weak. 

On  the  28th,  a  station  at  Burchtown.  The  country 
since  leaving   Baltimore  is  very  thickly   wooded  and 


little  cleared  ;  we  see  upon  the  road  many  brooks  and 
ponds  which  serve  to  keep  some  foundries  going  ;  there 
are  some  districts  of  handsome  wood ;  in  another,  it 
has  been  cut  down,  but  it  does  not  spring  up  again. 

On  the  29th,  our  division  reached  the  banks  of  the 
Susquehannah,  a  river  which  empties  into  the  Cliesa- 
peake  bay ;  it  is  two  miles  broad  at  this  place,  so  that 
all  our  vehicles  could  not  cross  it  in  the  ferry  boat  on 
the  same  day  and  we  were  obliged  to  remain  at  this 
place.  This  river  is  usually  crossed  at  a  ford,  two 
leagues  above  the  place  where  we  were ;  but  this 
passage  is  not  free  from  difficulty  and  danger.  It  has 
been  proposed  to  build  a  city  on  the  right  bank  and 
near  the  ferry  where  we  crossed  it.  It  should  be  called 
Havre  de  Grace. 

On  the  31st,  station  at  the  Head  of  Elk,  a  town  sit- 
uated upon  a  small  river  which  empties  into  the  bay 
exactly  at  its  extremity.  It  is  there  that  I  embarked 
when  we  proceeded  towards  York.  Elk  is  in  a  very 
dry  soil ;  one  is  drowned  with  dust  there.  Fever  is 
very  prevalent  there,  doubtless  caused  by  the  swamps 
in  the  vicinity. 

September,  1782.  On  the  1st  of  September  we  en- 
camped at  Newport,  a  small  town  situated  on  a  creek, 
which  communicates  with  the  Delaware  and  is  navi- 
gable.    Newport    is  in    the    state  of  Delaware ;    we 


leave  Maryland  between  this  town  and  the  Head  of 
Elk.  This  district  is  pretty  well  cultivated  ;  but  the 
land  there  is  equally  poor  and  sandy. 

On  the  '2d,  encampment  at  Chester,  a  small  borough 
situated  on  the  Delaware,  fifteen  miles  from  Philadel- 
phia and  in  Pennsylvania.  Half  way  between  New- 
port and  Chester  we  meet  with  Wilmington  which  be- 
longs to  Delaware,  and  where  the  assemblies  of  this 
state  are  usually  held.  This  city,  built  of  Ijrick,  a 
mile  from  the  Delaware,  is  as  large  as  Williamsburg 
and  capable  of  growth.  A  mile  from  this  city  we 
find  the  Brandywine,  of  which  I  have  already  spoken, 
famous  for  the  battle  which  the  English  gained  there 
over  General  Washington  ;  for  he  has  lost  some  bat- 
tles, but,  like  Colign}',  he  seemed  greater  after  defeats 
and  has  never  been  discouraged. 

The  Brandywine  is  also  remarkable  for  its  large 
water  mills,  which  the  grain  of  Pennsylvania  supports. 
In  this  district,  and  especially  below  Chester,  the  Dela- 
ware makes  swamps  of  the  water  left  by  the  sea  upon 
this  shore,  which  is  very  low. 

On  the  3d  we  w^ere  at  Philadelphia.  M.  de  la  Lu- 
zern,  who  was  still  there  as  ambassador  of  France, 
offered  me  a  lodging  at  his  house,  which  I  accepted  ; 
I  remained  there  until  the  5th. 

On  the  6th  we  proceeded  to  Trenton  where  the  army 


was  concentrated  into  two  divisions,  instead  of  four. 
I  remained  attached  to  the  hist.  I  was  not  entirely 
recovered  from  my  Baltimore  fevers ;  therefore  after 
having  run  about  and  attended  to  my  official  duty,  as 
soon  as  I  arrived  at  the  lodging  which  was  intended 
for  me,  I  rested  and  kept  quiet.  Thus,  my  journal 
was  almost  laid  aside.  I  will  only  say  that  we  were 
not  far  from  New  York.  We  marched  in  military 
manner  as  far  as  the  banks  of  the  North  river,  where 
we  arrived  on  the  15th.  I  had  some  good  lodging 
places,  and  especially  in  [New]  Jersey,  where  there 
are  many  Dutch  families.  I  lived  alone  there  and 
was  happy.  In  this  province,  I  also  heard  an  inhabitant 
mentioned,  named  Blanchard.  It  was  then  said  that 
M.  de  Sufiren  had  defeated  the  English  in  the  Indian 

On  the  16th,  I  crossed  the  North  river  and  caused 
my  sick  men,  amounting  to  more  than  a  hundred,  to 
be  taken  across.  I  placed  them  in  the  Peekskill 
temple,  where  I  had  already  established  hospitals  in 
the  previous  year.  In  going  to  it,  I  passed  near  the 
camp  of  the  Americans,  who  then  formed  a  body  of 
six  thousand  men  ;  ahnost  all  of  them  were  clothed 
and  in  uniforms  ;  their  camp  was  adorned  with  leaves, 
which  presented  an  agreeable  appearance. 

Our  troops  also  crossed  the  North  river  and  the  head 


quarters  were  established  at  Peekskill.  The  American 
troops  were  made  to  manoeuvre  in  our  presence,  and 
they  seemed  very  well  drilled  ;  it  was  the  work  of  five 
or  six  months;  for,  a  year  ago,  these  troops  were 
utterly  disorganized  and  without  any  sort  of  instruction. 
This  proves  that  we  probably  attach  too  much  impor- 
tance to  our  manoeuvres,  especially  certain  colonels  of 
excessive  zeal.  It  is  Baron  Steuben,  a  German  by 
birth  and  a  general  in  the  service  of  America,  who 
had  contributed  the  m.ost  to  forming  and  exercising 
the  American  troops.^ 

On  the  20th  we  learnt  that  the  Gloire,  a  frigate 
coming  from  France,  had  happily  arrived  at  Philadel- 
phia. The  Aigle,  another  frigate,  which  accompanied 
her,  under  the  command  of  M.  Desouches,  being 
pursued  by  the  English,  had  been  desirous  of  going 
through  a  place  where  the  Gloire  had  not  met  with 
any  accident ;  but,  apparently,  drawing  more  water, 
she  touched  upon  a  sandbank  and  ran  aground.  They 
had  time  to  send  the  money  and  the  passengers  ashore  ; 
but  the  English    captured   the  frigate,  the   crew  and 

'  The  Biography  of  Steuben  {Lehen  Von  Steuben,  Berlin,  1858), 
and  also  that  of  de  Kalb  have  been  written  by  the  Hon.  Frederic 
Kapp,  member  of  the  imperial  German  parliament,  with  rare 
pains  and  impartiality.  Translations  of  both  of  these  interesting 
books  have  been  published  at  New  York. 


the  captain.  Considering  the  frigate  too  much  dam- 
aged, they  set  fire  to  it.  The  passengers  who  arrived 
by  this  frigate  were  the  Baron  de  Viomenil,  the  Duke 
de  Lauzun,  and  the  Marquis  de  Laval,  who  had  left 
us  after  the  siege  of  York,  the  Prince  de  Broglie,  the 
Marquis  de  Segur  and  some  other  young  people  of  the 
court,  who  came  to  America  for  the  first  time.  Some 
days  before,  the  two  frigates  had  had  a  glorious  en- 
gagement with  a  ship  of  seventy-four  guns. 

On  the  2'2d,  in  the  evening,  we  had  our  letters. 
As  to  political  news,  always  an  uncertainty  respect- 
ing the  peace  ;  some  projects  as  to  Gibraltar,  the  de- 
parture of  the  Count  d'  Artois  for  this  place  and  the 
war  of  Geneva. 

On  the  24th,  our  army  proceeded  to  Crampond, 
about  nine  miles  from  Peekskill;  that  of  General 
Washington,  being  encamped  upon  the  banks  of  the 
North  river,  made  no  movement.  I  remained  at 
Peekskill,  not  being  attached  to  the  moving  hospital 
near  the  army,  which  was  then  near  to  Peekskill,  to 
have  the  sick  forwarded  to  it. 

Ocioher,  1782.  The  army  remained  in  this  position 
about  a  month.  Putting  it  in  motion  was  several 
times  under  consideration,  and  I  believe  that  General 
Washington  desired  it;  he  had  the  siege  of  New  York 
always   in    view,    but    he    needed    additional   forces. 


Finally,  it  was  decided  that  our  troops  should  ap- 
proach Boston.  It  began  to  be  said  that  we  were 
about  to  embark  upon  M.  de  VaudreuiTs  squadron,  and 
proceed  to  the  West  Indies  or  some  otlier  point.  This 
idea  caused  a  fermentation  in  men's  minds  and  es- 
pecially in  mine ;  for  I  desired  nothing  so  much  as  to 
go  to  Saint  Domingo  to  see  my  uncle. 

The  first  division  left  the  camp  of  Cram  pond  on  the 
22d,  and  the  second,  on  the  following  day.  They 
stopped  at  Salem,  which  is  also  in  the  province  of 
New  York.  I  w^rite  this  on  the  23d  and  the  weather 
is  so  fine  that  I  am  working  in  my  shirt  sleeves  ;  to 
night  I  shall  be  obliged  to  put  on  garment  over  gar- 

I  had  divined  it,  for  it  is  very  cold  to-day,  the  24  th. 
I  was  obliged  to  get  off  my  horse  and  walk  on  foot  to 
keep  myself  warm.  At  tlie  end  of  some  miles  w^e 
found  ourselves  in  the  road  which  I  had  passed  over 
eighteen  months  before  We  passed  by  Richbury  and 
stopped  at  Danbury ;  it  is  a  pretty  large  town  where, 
three  or  four  years  ago,  the  English  committed  great 
disorders,  which  are  still  visible.  There  are  some 
pretty  valleys  in  the  neighborhood,  some  hills  and 
rocks  which  remind  me  of  Pegou  near  Angers. 

I  believe  that  I  ought  to  mention  here  a  rather  re- 
m.arkable   occurrence  that  happened  to   M.  de  Roch- 


ambeau  soon  after  his  departure  from  Crampond.  His 
host,  named  Dehivan,  who  was  said  to  be  of  French 
origin,  demanded  a  considerable  compensation  from 
him  for  some  damage  that  the  army  had  done  him  by 
encamping  upon  his  property  ;  his  demand  was  ex- 
orbitant, it  needed  examination  ;  but  this  man  was 
unwiUing  to  wait,  he  comphxined  to  the  judge  of  the 
county  and  to  the  sheriff;  the  latter  in  coniormity  with 
the  laws  made  his  appearance  to  arrest  M.  de  Roch- 
ambeau  and,  for  that  purpose,  touched  him  on  the 
shoulder.  All  those  who  w^re  present  desired  to  take 
him  away ;  but  M.  de  Rochambeau  replied  that  he 
would  conform  to  the  laws  of  the  country  and  he  de- 
parted after  giving  security.  However  the  plaintiff's 
charges  were  examined  and  reduced  to  one-half  by  the 
people  of  the  country,  but  faithfully  paid.^  This  in- 
cident shows  the  power  of  the  law  among  the  Ameri- 
cans and  the  good  temper  of  M.  de  Rochambeau.  I 
lodged  at  Salem  in  the  house  of  the  constable  who  ar- 
rested M.  de  Rochambeau.  I  did  not  know  it  then  ; 
he  received  me  very  well  and  made  me  take  tea  with 
him.  He  was  a  little  old  man,  pretty  lively.  He  had 
a  daughter,  not  handsome  and  very  familiar;  one 
thing  which  shows  this  familiarity,  but  the  American 

'  Paid  by  Rochambeau,  we  must  understand. 


manners  at  the  same  time,  k,  tliat  having  met  her  in 
the  kitchen,  she  told  me  that  she  had  left  her  room 
where  the  chimney  smoked ;  I  proposed  to  her  to 
come  into  that  which  had  been  given  to  me.  Slie 
agreed  to  it  and  remained  there  for  a  long  time  ; 
sometimes  we  conversed,  at  other  moments  she  suffered 
me  to  write  and  attend  to  my  business. 

On  the  25th,  our  division  proceeded  to  Newtown,  a 
small  town  which  I  have  mentioned,  situated  upon  a 
hill  whence  the  view  is  pretty  agreeable.  On  the  27th, 
we  took  up  our  march  for  Breakneck  :  1  met  again, 
after  more  than  a  year,  with  all  the  places  that  I  had 
passed  through. 

On  the  28th,  at  Baron's  Tavern,  in  a  tolerably  fer- 
tile valley  which  extends  as  far  as  Hartford.  It  is 
one  of  the  best  parts  of  America ;  so  we  found  more 
readily  what  we  needed,  for  instance,  straw. 

On  the  29th,  my  division  stopped  at  Farmington, 
and  I  proceeded  to  Hartford.  There  I  saw  M.  de 
Tarle,  who  confirmed  to  me  the  report  of  our  approach- 
ing embarkation  upon  M.  de  Vaudreuil's  squadron,  to 
proceed  to  our  colonies  without  a  precise  knowledge  of 
our  destination.  He  told  me  that  I  would  embark 
with  the  troops  and  that  they  would  give  me  another 
commissary  of  war  as  assistant.  M.  de  Rochambeau 
also  spoke  to  me  to  the  same  purpose, 


On  the  30th  and  31st,  the  weather  was  frightful  and 
the  rain  continual.  The  army  remained  at  Hartford. 
I  lodged  at  East  Hartford,  which  is,  in  some  sort,  a 
second  city  upon  the  left  bank  of  the  Connecticut 
river.  Tliis  country  is  very  populous  and  entirely 
cleared ;  the  soil  is  also  good,  and  yet  I  suspect  that 
the  cultivation  of  it  could  be  increased. 

The  army  resumed  its  march  on  the  4th,  in  two 
divisions;  it  stopped  at  Boston  on  the  5th,  at  Windham 
on  the  6th  and  at  Canterbury  on  the  8th.  On  the 
9th,  the  army  proceeded  to  Watertown,  where  I  saw 
the  inn,  Dorancy  Tavern,  of  which  the  Chevalier  de 
Chaste llux  gives  so  handsome  a  description  in  his 
travels,  printed  and  well  embellished.  Moreover,  the 
two  young  ladies  of  whom  he  speaks  were  no  longer 
there  and  they  both  had  houses  of  their  own. 

The  inhabitants  of  this  province,  generally  speaking, 
are  more  affable  and  more  lively  than  those  of  Virginia. 
Our  troops,  upon  arriving  in  their  camp, 

[Here  there  is  a  blank  in  the  original  manuscript.] 

On  the  11th  we  were  at  Providence,  where  I  had 
spent  so  much  time  in  1780  and  1781.  The  entire 
army  was  quartered  there  until  M.  de  Vaudreuil's 
squadron,  in  which  we  were  to  embark,  was  ready. 

The  artillery  went  first  and  set  out  for  Boston,  where 
it  arrived  on  the  18th.     I  had  already  gone  over  this 


road,  which  is  a  fiiio  one ;  we  pass  thereon  through 
different  vilhxges  and  frequently  meet  with  houses  on 
it ;  yet  the  hxnd  there  is  pretty  middling ;  it  is  the 
cattle,  whom  they  feed  there  partly  with  maize,  and 
some  iron-works  that  make  up  the  principal  abundance 
of  the  country. 

The  next  day  I  dined  at  the  house  of  the  consul, 
M.  de  I'Etombe.  In  the  evening  I  was  presented  there 
to  M.  de  Vaudreuil,  and  I  worked  during  a  part  of  the 
day  with  his  son,  the  Chevalier  de  Yaudreuil,  who 
served  him  as  major. 

On  the  21st,  there  was  a  dinner  at  which  I  was 
present,  given  by  Mr.  Brick,^  a  wealthy  American  to 
M.  de  Vaudreuil  and  to  several  navy  officers. 

On  the  22d  I  went  to  see  the  Commandeur  Coriolis 
d'  Espinousse,  a  relation  of  my  wife  and  the  chief 
of  the  squadron ;  he  was  residing  five  or  six  miles 
from  Boston  until  his  departure  for  France  whither 
his  health  obliged  him  to  return. 

The  Count  de  Rochambeau  had  transferred  the  com- 
mand of  the  army  to  the  Baron  de  Viomenil  and  set 
out  on  the  first  of  December  for  Philadelphia,  where 
he  was  to  embark  to  return   to  France.     M.  de  Chas- 

'  I  have  not  succeeded  in  ascertaining  who  was  the  gentleman 
thus  characterized  as  a  "  Brick." 


tellnx  also  started.  Our  troops  arrived  at  Boston  suc- 
cessively on  the  3d,  4th  and  5th  of  December ;  and 
they  encamped  in  the  order  that  they  arrived.  The 
weather  was  very  fine,  so  that  Dr.  Cooper,  the  pomp- 
ous protestant  clergyman  whom  I  have  mentioned  be- 
fore, said  "  Heaven  smiles  npon  the  troops  of  France." 

We  then  learnt  that  the  expedition  against  Gibral- 
tar had  been  unsuccessful. 

On  the  i2th,  the  members  of  the  assembly  of  Bos- 
ton ^  came  to  congratulate  the  Baron  de  Viomenil,  who 
received  them  in  the  midst  of  a  large  number  of  of- 
ficers, of  whom  I  was  one.  The  spokesman,  Mr. 
Samuel  Adams,  a  respectable  old  man,  spoke  very 
spiritedly.  His  discourse  and  M.  de  Viomenil's  reply 
were  inserted  in  the  public  papers.  On  the  same  day 
the  assembly  gave  a  great  dinner  to  M.  de  Viomenil 
and  the  principal  officers  of  the  army.  It  was  Mr. 
Hancock,  at  that  time  the  governor  of  the  state,  who 
presided  at  it. 

On  the  13th,  in  company  with  M.  de  Viomenil,  I 
again  went  to  see  the  Commandeur  Coriolis  d'  Espi- 
nousse.  We  were  in  a  boat;  but  the  wind  became 
so  violent  and  contrary  that  we  returned  upon  some 
bad  horses  which  they  had  the  kindness  to  procure  for 

Massachusetts  must  be  meant. 


us  in  the  district.  Before  reaching  Boston  we  had  to 
cross  an  arm  of  the  sea  which  was  half  a  league  wide. 
It  was  so  agitated  that  we  were  covered  with  water, 
and  it  was  so  cold  that  the  water  froze  upon  us.  We 
were  in  danger,  the  water  entered  the  boat  in  which 
we  were,  which  our  afiVighted  horses  shook  still  more. 
But,  some  daj^s  afterw\ards,  w^e  returned  thither  to 
dine.  He  was  making  preparations  to  return  to 
France,  on  board  of  a  frigate  wherein,  upon  my  re- 
commendation, he  granted  a  passage  to  two  persons. 

We  thought  of  starting  on  about  the  20th  ;  but  we 
were  still  at  Boston  on  the  2 2d,  in  consequence  of 
some  delays.  The  22d  was  a  Sundaj- ;  I  mention  it 
because,  having  walked  through  the  city,  I  saw  no  one 
there.  The  inhabitants  were  in  the  temples  or  retired 
in  their  own  houses ;  the}'  do  not  allow  the  least  re- 
creation and  do  not  visit.  Moreover,  this  is  the  same 
almost  everywhere  in  America.  At  Providence  some 
amiable  women,  of  a  lively  disposition,  at  whose  houses 
I  called,  were  even  unwilling  to  sing  on  Saturday 
evening.  In  the  month  of  September  last,  a  pretty 
singular  occurrence  befel  me,  on  going  from  Philadel- 
phia to  the  North  river,  which  proves  this  great  strict- 
ness. Some  officers  came  to  see  me  on  a  Sunday  and 
I  proposed  to  them  to  play  a  game  of  revereis  ;  the 
mistress  of  the  house  where  I  w\as  lodoin.o;  entered  the 


room  angrily  and  wished  to  snatch  the  cards  from  ns. 
I  had  difficulty  in  quieting  her  and  was  obliged  to 
have  her  told  by  the  chaplain  of  the  hospital,  an  Irish 
priest  who  spoke  English,  that  it  was  not  contrary  to 
the  principles  of  our  religion  to  play  cards  on  Sunday. 

Boston  is  reckoned  to  contain  25,000  inhabitants. 
Its  size  is  about  that  of  Angers.  The  houses  are 
mostly  of  brick,  the  streets  are  pretty  wide  and  well 
laid  out,  especially  the  main  street.  There  are  also 
some  unsightly  quarters  which  give  Boston  an  appear- 
ance less  modern  than  Philadelphia  and  the  other 
cities  of  America. 

I  have  already  mentioned  that  several  families  of 
the  name  of  Blanchard  are  found  there.  One,  very 
rich,  of  French  origin,  went  from  Rochelle  to  America 
after  the  revocation  of  the  Edict  of  Nantes.  Many 
families  belonging  to  Eochelle  did  the  same  i  for  there 
is  a  village  in  New  York  entirelj'  built  by  the  Roch- 
ellois.  It  is  called  New  Rochelle.^  Our  army  was 
pretty  near  to  it  m  1781  and  several  of  our  officers 
went  to  it. 

^  June  5,  1751.  Joseph  Shippeu  (afterwards  colonel  and  sec- 
retary to  the  Province  of  Penn.)  writes  to  his  father,  that 
President  Burr  (of  the  College  of  Xew  Jersey)  advises  him  to 
go  to  New  Rochelle  to  pass  some  months  for  the  puri^ose  of 
perfecting  himself  in  French.  3IS.  in  the  possession  of  Hon. 
J.  C.  G.  Kennedy  of  Washington. 


At  this  time  mention  was  made  of  a  man  who  had 
killed  his  wife  and  his  children  and  afterwards  him- 
self. These  crimes  are  rare  in  America  and  this  was 
the  only  one  that  I  heard  of  during  all  my  stay. 

On  the  -3d  of  December  1782  I  went  on  board  of 
the  Triomphant,  with  M.  de  Viomenil,  and  on  the  24th 
the  whole  squadron,  carrying  the  army,  set  sail  and 
left  the  harbor  of  Boston  ;  the  channel  is  narrow 
and  has  little  depth ;  so  that  we  were  not  without  un- 
easiness. Our  pilot  liimself  did  not  appear  to  be  quite 
composed  and  incessantly  repeated  '•  to  rig."  How- 
ever, we  fortunately  got  through  ;  one  only  of  the 
transport  ships,  the  Warwick,  was  shattered  upon  the 
locks  on  setting  sail ;  happily,  there  were  no  troops 
on  board.  We  were  to  cruise  as  high  up  as  Ports- 
mouth, a  pretty  good  port  beyond  Boston,  where  two 
ships  of  war  were  which  were  to  rejoin  us  and  then  to 
cruise  alongside  of  Rhode  Island  in  order  to  meet  with 
the  Fantasque,  a  vessel  armed  en  Jlate,  to  the  wind. 
The  bad  weather  changed  these  designs;  we  could 
not,  without  danger,  remain  upon  these  coasts  exposed 
to  being  cast  away  upon  them  or  driven  upon  sand 

On  the  27th,  the  frigate  Iris  left  us,  to  proceed  to 
France.  On  the  same  day  we  lost  sight  of  our  convoy 
and  our  frigate.  Moreover,  every  vessel  carried  a 


sealed  package  pointing  out  the  general  destination  of 
the  squadron. 

We  thus  found   ourselves   reduced  to   ten  ships  of 



The  Triomphant, 


M^.?  de  Vaudreuil, 

The  Coronne, 



The  Neptune, 



The  Northumberland, 



The  Brave, 



The  Souverain, 



The  Bourgogne, 



The  Due  de  Bourgogne, 



The  Citoyen, 



The  Hercule, 


ChV   De  Bros. 

The  vessels  remaining  at  Portsmouth  and  which 
were  to  start  were  the  Auguste,  of  80  guns,  com- 
manded by  the  Chevalier  de  Vaudreuil's  brother,  and 
the  Pluton,  commanded  by  M.  d'  Albert  de  Riom ; 
they  had  with  them  the  Amazone,  a  frigate  which  M. 
de  r  Aiguille,  the  brother  of  the  major  of  the  squad- 
ron, commanded,  and  the  Glairvoijante,  Pache,  com- 
mander. The  weather  was  so  bad  in  the  first  days 
that  it  wiis  impossible  for  me  to  write,  the  rather  as  I 
had  not  a  room  and  slept  with  thirty  officers  in  the 


main  cabin.  1  ate  also  at  M.  de  Vaudreuil's  table 
where  we  had  ten  or  twelve.  The  rolling  was  so 
great  during  the  first  days  that  we  were  obliged  to  eat 
upon  the  hoor. 

January,  1783.  To-day,  January  the  8th,  we  are 
at  present  in  27° ;  the  heat  is  very  great.  Our  des- 
tination is  still  a  mystery,  I  do  not  even  know  if"  we 
have  a  positive  one.  One  circumstance  would  make 
me  believe  so.  We  were  joined  on  the  5th  by  a  ves- 
sel which  left  Boston  five  or  six  days  after  us  and 
which  brought  a  letter  from  the  consul  to  M.  de  Vau- 
dreuil.  This  informed  him  that,  shortly  after  our  de- 
parture, an  aid-de-camp  of  M.  de  Rochambeau  had 
arrived,  bringing  some  letters  which  he  had  been 
afraid  to  trust  to  this  little  vessel,  but  which  he  had 
sent  to  Portsmouth  to  be  brought  to  us  by  the  ships 
of  war  which  were  there  and  which  were  to  rejoin  us. 
He  also  mentioned  that  a  frigate  commanded  by  M. 
de  Capellis  had  just  arrived  from  France  in  the  Dela- 
ware, after  a  passage  of  forty-five  days  ;  she,  doubtless, 
brought  orders  from  the  court,  wliich,  perhaps,  would 
have  modified  our  route. 

January  IQth.  The  difficulty  of  finding  a  place  for 
writing,  prevents  my  keeping  my  journal  regularly. 
To-day  I  have  the  means  and  I  profit  by  it.  We  are 
near  Porto  Rico,  an  island  belonging  to  the  Spaniards. 


We  cruise  there  to  collect  the  merchantmen  and  trans- 
ports from  which  we  were  separated.  Many  have 
already  rejoined  us.  We  have  chased  two  English 
frigates  without  success.  Our  prizes  at  present  con- 
sist of  only  two  brigs.  According  to  their  account 
and  that  of  a  frigate,  the  Aigrette,  commanded  by 
Cabanis,  and  the  cutter,  the  Malin,  commanded  by 
Beauvais,  anchored  at  Saint  John  of  Porto  Rico,  the 
English  are  cruising  with  sixteen  ships  of  the  line 
alongside  of  the  cape  of  Saint  Domingo,  from  which 
we  were  not  f^ir  distant ;  we  had  only  ten  vessels, 
therefore  the  match  was  not  equal.  On  the  other 
hand,  they  told  us  that  the  question  of  peace  is  under 
consideration.  However  we  prepared  to  leave  our 
cruising  ground,  to  reach  I  know  not  what  point, 
which  M.  de  Vaudreuil  keeps  a  secret.  It  seems  to  be 
a  place  of  meeting  agreed  upon  with  the  Spanish  Heet. 

Although  we  are  still  in  the  latitude  of  20°,  we  do 
not  find  the  heat  too  powerful.  The  sun  is  intense, 
but  refreshing  winds  almost  always  prevail.  On  cross- 
ing the  tropic,  we  had  the  usual  ceremony.  It  is  the 
carnival  of  the  sailors,  to  whom  it  brings  in  some 

Here  is  the  staff  of  the  Triomphant  which  I  have 
not  yet  given. 

M.  de  Vaudreuil,  chief  of  the  squadron. 


Montcabier,  tiag-oflficer. 

The  Chevalier  de  rAiguille,  major. 

The  Chevalier  de  Griinaldi,  adjutant. 

The  Chevalier  de  Viola,  adjutant. 

The  Chevalier  de  la  Panouse,  of  the  marines,  assist- 
ant adjutant. 

Repentigny  and  Desson,  lieutenants. 

Delange,  Panat  and  Belzin,  ensigns. 

Mandat,  de  Dussus,  le  Pont  and  Moucheron,  officers 
of  the  marines. 

Three  auxiliary  officers  and  three  officers  of  the 
regiment  of  Medoc,  keeping  garrison  in  the  ship,  who, 
with  the  officers  who  were  passengers,  made  05  persons. 

The  soldiers  and  sailors  were  in  proportiou,  so  that 
there  were  more  than  eleven  hundred  persons  on  board 
of  this  ship.  We  also  had  on  board  the  famous  Paul 
Jones,  who  had  asked  permission  to  embark  on  board 
of  us  and  who  behaved  with  great  propriety. 

At  last  we  learnt,  in  the  last  days  of  January,  that 
it  was  at  Porto  Cabello,  in  New  Spain,  Province  of 
Caraccas,  that  we  were  to  put  into  port.  In  order  to 
reach  it  we  were  compelled  to  cruise  for  a  long  time 
between  Curagoa  and  New  Spain.  This  is  only  a  dis- 
tance of  ten  leagues  and  is  not  free  from  danger. 
Bottom  is  easily  found  there  and  these  channels  were 
unknown  to  us.     Our  Spanish  pilot  did  not  appear  to 


be  acquainted  with  them.  The  island  of  Cura^oa  be- 
longs to  the  Dutch  ;  we  went  sufficiently  near  to  it  to 
have  a  good  view  of  it.  It  is  seven  leagues  in  length, 
the  city  seemed  pretty  and  announces  that  cleanliness  , 
which  distinguishes  the  Dutch.  One  evening  we  ap- 
proached the  coast  so  closely  that  a  cannon  was  fired 
from  the  land  to  inform  us  of  the  danger  which  we 
were  running. 

Fehniary,  1783.  On  the  8th,  several  of  our  ships 
were  obliged  to  put  into  port  at  Curagoa,  and  we  also 
found  ourselves  separated  from  the  convoy  which  we 
had  brought  from  Porto  Rico.  We  were  joined  by  a 
French  lugger,  the  captain  of  which  came  on  board  of 
us.  He  informed  us  that  the  Bourgogne,  a  ship  of 
74  guns,  which  was  a  part  of  our  squadron  and  of 
which  we  had  lost  sight  on  the  night  of  the  3d  and 
4th  of  February,  had  struck  upon  a  sand  bank,  two 
leagues  from  the  Spanish  coast,  without  being  able  to 
get  off.  This  lugger  had  been  dispatched  from  Porto 
Rico  to  bring  assistance  to  the  shipwrecked  vessel  and 
had  indeed  succeeded,  with  a  frigate  and  a  small 
Spanish  vessel  in  saving  three  hundred  men  who  had 
remained  on  board  of  this  ship,  entirely  destitute  of 
succor  and  food,  for  the  vessel  was  half  swallowed  up 
and  was  gradually  sinking  in  the  sand  bank.  This 
captain  told   us  that  all  the  officers  had  perished  in 


endeavoring  to  land  by  means  of  long  boats  and  rafts. 
As  among  these  officers  there  were  twenty  of  the  regi- 
ment of  Bourbonnois,  and  as  we  also  had  several  of 
the  same  regiment  on  board  of  the  Triomphant,  who 
had  relations  and  friends  on  board  of  the  shipwrecked 
vesseP  (I  myself  had  my  brother-in-law  in  it!)  as  in  short 
we  were  exposed  to  the  same  danger  on  this  unknown 
coast,  this  news  was  a  clap  of  thunder  for  us  all.  Yet 
there  are  some  doubts  still  as  to  the  loss  of  the  crew 
and  we  impatiently  w^aited  to  land  in  order  to  know 
the  truth.  At  last,  on  the  night  of  the  10th,  we  ar- 
rived at  Porto  Cabello,  where  we  anchored. 

Since  morning,  we  had  perceived  the  high  moun- 
tains which  overlook  this  port  and  which  do  not  pre- 
sent an  agreeable  appearance.  The  next  day  we 
landed  and  paid  a  visit  to  the  assistant  commandant 
of  the  Province  of  Caraccas,  to  the  commandant  of 
the  city  and  to  the  administrator,  the  delegate  of  the 
intendant,  who  resides  at  Caraccas,  the  capital  of  the 

We  dined  on  the  12th  at  the  house  of  M.  de  Nava, 
the  assistant  commandant  of  the  province.  The 
dinner,  well  cooked  and  abundant,  composed  of  French 

1  The  Chevalier  de  Coriolis,  whose  account  of  the  loss  of  the 
Due  de  Bourgogne,  and  the  sufferings  of  the  survivors  has  been 
printed  by  M.  La  Chesnais  in  the  Revue  Jlilitaire  Franqais. 


and  Spanish  ragouts,  was  served  on  rich  silverware. 
The  city  consists  of  nothing  but  huts,  without  orna- 
ment, without  hangings,  without  furniture  and  only 
one  story  high. .  The  commandant's  house  had  sev- 
eral, with  1  irge  rooms,  but  all  quite  bare. 

At  length  we  learnt  from  an  officer  of  the  regiment 
of  Bourbonnois,  saved  from  the  shipwreck  of  the 
Bourgogne,  and  who  arrived  to-day,  that  only  four 
officers  were  lost,  of  whom  my  brother-in-law  was  not 
one.  I  had  the  pleasure  of  seeing  him  the  next  day  ; 
he  had  saved  himself  upon  a  raft.  There  was  much 
disorder  in  this  affiiir  and  the  captain  and  some  of  the 
officers  will  always  be  reproached  for  abandoning  the 
vessel  and  leaving  three  hundred  soldiers  and  sailors 
in  it. 

After  the  above  mentioned  day,  the  12th,  I  took  up 
my  quarters  on  shore,  as  likewise  the  superior  officers 
of  the  army  ;  the  troops  remained  on  board.  My  du- 
ties did  not  amount  to  much,  the  whole  being  on  ac- 
count of  the  navy.  My  service  consisted  in  keeping 
the  army-chest,  and  remitting  money  to  the  different 
persons  attached  to  the  staff  of  our  army,  either  as 
employees  or  officers. 

The  heat  here  is  excessive.  Porto  Cabello  is  only 
the  port  of  entry  of  the  commercial  company  of  Car- 
accas,  situated  thirty  leagues  from  here.     This  com- 


pany  deals  especially  in  cocoa,  and  that  of  Caraccas  is 
considered  the  best.  It  is  also  an  excellent  harbor  ; 
the  largest  shi[)S  anchor  at  the  qnay.  The  country 
would  be  able  to  furnish  the  best  products  of  our 
island,  if  it  were  cultivated  ;  but  the  Spaniards  are  as 
lazy  here  as  in  their  native  country.  I  have  visited 
some  residences  in  the  vicinity.  I  have  seen  there 
the  most  beautiful  trees,  palms,  citrons,  oranges,  ba- 
nanas and  cocoa-nuts  ;  I  have  eaten  some  delicious  pine- 
apples there  kSeveral  of  our  officers  went  to  Carac- 
cas, a  pretty  considerable  city  where  there  is  good 
society,  and  some  very  rich  people.  A  bishop  resides 
there  who  has  a  considerable  revenue. 

March,  1783.  The  heat  is  excessive  ;  almost  all  the 
persons  who  lodge  on  shore  became  sick,  and  I  was  so 
myself;  my  domestics  likewise.  De  la  Cheze's  servant 
died  of  fever,  accompanied  by  vomiting.  At  last,  on 
the  24th  of  March,  the  frigate  Andromaque  arrived  at 
Porto  Cabello  and  brought  us  official  information  of 
the  certainty  of  peace.  The  news  was  received  with 
delight.  From  this  I  except  some  little  ambitious 
grandees  who  think  of  nothing  but  themselves  and 
their  own  advantage.  This  peace,  advantageous  to 
France,  was  disastrous  to  England,  and  it  seemed  to 
all  that  if  the  former  knew  how  to  avail  herself  of  this 


prosperity,  she  might  recover  the  superiority  in  Europe 
to  which  England  pretended. 

At  last  we  thought  of  leaving  Porto  Cabello,  which 
was  becoming  more  and  more  injurious  to  our  health. 
On  the  2d  of  April  I  went  on  board  of  the  Triomphant, 
with  all  my  effects,  where  we  again  met  with  the 
same  officers  ;  there  was  no  one  in  addition  to  them 
except  the  Chevalier  de  Roquelaure,  an  ensign, 
from  the  Bourgogne.  On  the  !2d,  I  went  lo  dine  on 
board  of  the  Souverain,  commanded  by  M.  de  Glan- 
deves,  whom  I  had  known  in  Corsica,  an  officer  re- 
spectable for  his  accomplishments  and  talents.  On 
the  3d,  the  squadron  sailed,  except  the  Triomphant, 
the  AugListe  and  the  Nereide,  which  did  not  set  sail 
until  the  4th.  Having  learnt  that  M.  de  Vaudreuil 
granted  the  frigate  Amazone  to  the  Count  de  Segur, 
in  order  to  proceed  directly  to  Poi't-au-Prince  or  to 
Jacmel,  in  the  island  of  Saint  Domingo,  where  he  had 
a  house  (the  squadron  was  to  put  into  port  at  Saint 
Domingo,  but  at  the  cape) .  I  obtained  permission  to  go 
on  board  of  the  Amazone  with  M.  de  Segur.  We  had 
a  very  good  wind  and  made  a  hundred  leagues  in  three 
days.  All  this  time  was  pleasant  for  us.  M.  de  Gas- 
ton, the  captain,  treated  us  very  well ;  he  had  with 
him  two  or  three  amiable  officers  and  M.  de  Segur, 
really  a  man  of  wit,  a  poet  and  an  interesting  story 


teller,  who  added  much  animation  to  the  conversation. 
We  also  had  M.  Berthier,  an  ofhcer  of  the  staff  of  the 
army,  who  accompanied  M.  de  Se,2;ur.  The  officers 
of  the  navy  were,  with  M.  de  Gaston,  Da  petit 
Thouars,  his  mate  ;  he  is  from  Saumur  ;  he  is  an  odd 
young  man,  but  intellectual,  zealous  and  devoted  to 
his  calling ;  La  Mothe  Gnillonnais,  an  ensign,  and 
Boulen,  an  officer  of  marines,  besides  two  auxiliary 
officers.  There  were  also  three  officers  of  the  regi- 
ment of  the  Cape,  with  a  detachment  from  this  corps 
which  was  in  garrison  there. 

On  the  8th,  in  the  morning,  we  discovered  the 
coast  of  St.  Domingo  ;  it  was  the  point  of  Salines 
in  the  Spanish  part,  forty  leagues  from  the  place 
where  we  were  to  land  ;  this  point  semed  to  be  unculti- 
vated and  uninhabited.  We  were  almost  becalmed 
on  this  day,  and  we  made  yevy  little  headway  the 
next  day. 

On  the  9th,  we  perceived  at  the  distance  of  three 
leagues  a  fleet  of  thirty  sails,  several  of  which  were 
ships  of  war.  We  concluded  that  they  were  English 
on  their  way  to  the  Windw^ard  islands  and  Januiica  ; 
that  was  the  route.  Hostilities  had  not  ceased  in 
these  seas  until  after  the  od. 

On  the  11th,  we  had  advanced  very  little,  having 
no  wind  except  at  intervals  ;  we  were,  however,  pretty 


near  the  coast ;  it  is  mountainous  and  we  did  not  per- 
ceive many  inhabitants. 

On  the  12th,  having  sent  a  boat  ashore  to  a  little 
town  which  was  in  sight,  we  learnt  that  w^e  were  at 
Jacmel.  M.  de  Segur,  M,  Berthier  and  myself  pro- 
ceeded to  it  in  a  boat  at  four  o'clock  in  the  afternoon. 
It  is  a  small  town  of  about  fifty  houses,  where  there  is, 
nevertheless,  a  military  commandant,  at  whose  house 
w^e  were  put  on  shore.  M.  de  Segur,  being  desirous  of 
setting  out  that  evening,  the  commandant  procured 
some  saddle-horses  for  us,  and  we  started,  after  supper, 
at  eight  o'clock  for  Leogane,  which  is  fourteen  leagues 
distant.  The  road  is  mountainous,  bordered  by  preci- 
pices, cut  up  by  torrents  and  very  picturesque.  It 
was  beautiful,  clear  moonlight,  so  that  we  enjoyed  the 
spectacle  ;  a  negro  served  as  our  guide ;  he  went  on 
foot ;  as  he  was  tired  and  I  had  the  best  horse,  he 
mounted  behind  me.  A  league  before  arriving  at 
Leogane,  we  found  avast  plain  where  there  were  seve- 
ral dwelling  houses.  We  observed  that  of  M.  Michel, 
called  the  Barbot  residence.  It  was  five  o'clock  in 
the  morning  and  daylight  when  we  arrived  at  Leo- 
gane. This  town  is  small,  but  pretty,  with  a  hand- 
some square.  We  dined  at  the  house  of  M.  de 
Theridan,  who  procured  carriages  for  us  to  proceed  to 
Port-au-Prince,  distant  seven  leagues.     We  performed 


this  journey  in  three  hours  and  a  half  and  arrived  at 
Port-au-Prince  at  nine  o'clock  at  night.  We  stopped 
at  the  door  of  a  large  inn  and  I  had  not  yet  got  out  of 
the  coach  wlien  an  inhabitant  approached.  I  recog- 
nized my  uncle  whom  I  embraced  with  transports  of 
joy.  He  took  me  to  the  house  of  one  of  his  friends, 
M.  Prieur,  whose  house  was  in  the  neighborhood  and 
where  they  were  at  supper  when  the  noise  of  the  car- 
riage attracted  his  attention.  In  the  evening  he  took 
me  to  his  residence,  situated  a  league  from  Port-au- 

On  the  next  day,  the  14th,  the  Count  de  Segur,  for 
whom  my  uncle  had  sent  to  the  city,  arrived  and 
shortly  afterwards  departed  for  his  residence,  which 
was  in  the  neighborhood.  On  the  16th,  my  uncle 
gave  a  great  dinner  of  tliirty  covers  in  honor  of  him, 
which  was  admirably  served  by  some  negroes  and 
negresses,  making  a  very  good  appearance,  the  women 
in  white  with  a  kind  of  hoop  petticoats.  This  dinner 
was  returned  to  us  on  the  19th  and  we  visited  M.  de 
Segur's  residence. 

I  pass  over  the  recollections,  altogether  personal,  of 
my  stay  at  St.  Domingo.  They  interest  only  my 
children  to  whom  I  have  often  related  them. 

The  Cape  is  a  city  with  broad  and  straight  streets, 
but  the    houses  of   which  have  only  a   ground-floor. 


They  are  of  wood  and  the  windows  are  without  glass. 
Their  appearance  is  not  very  agreeable.  Even  the 
greater  part  of  the  single  storeys  are  not  ceiled,  in 
order  to  give  more  air,  so  that  we  see  the  woodwork 
and  the  roof  which  is  of  small  boards.  A  few  houses 
are  covered  with  slates.  There  is.  besides,  much  build- 
ing and  the  city  grows  every  day.  It  is  deficient  from 
the  want  of  quays,  which  are  entirely  wanting.  The 
church  is  neat  and  large. 

On  going  to  see  one  of  my  uncle's  neighbors,  we 
found  him  engaged  in  flogging  one  of  the  negroes,  who 
had  been  detected  in  a  fault.  However,  all  the  in- 
habitants do  not  treat  them  harshly,  and  some  are 
even  very  good  to  them.  But  if  more  correct  ideas 
are  entertained  in  the  colonies  respecting  the  condition 
of  the  slaves,  who  are  often  treated  with  humanity, 
this  condition  is  none  the  less  cruel.  I  know  that 
there  is  no  registry  kept  of  their  birth  and  that  they 
are  not  taken  to  church  to  be  baptized  ;  the  most  part 
have  no  religious  principles  which  no  one  takes  the 
trouble  to  give  them. 

At  last,  I  had  to  leave,  and  I  proceeded  to  the  Cape 
where  the  squadron  was  assembled.  There  I  found 
the  Baron  de  Viomenil,  with  whom  I  was  to  be  em- 
ployed. I  also  saw  again  my  brother-in-law,  Baptiste 
de  Coriolis.     I  had  hardly  time  to  see  the  Cape,  which 


is  a  considerable  city,  with  stone  houses,  of  two 
storeys.  Much  was  said  at  this  time  of  the  visit  which 
had  been  paid  to  this  city,  a  few  days  before,  by  Prince 
WiUiau),^  the  son  of  the  king  of  England. 

On  the  30th  of  April,  I  embarked  upon  the  North- 
umberland, with  M.  de  Vaudreuil  and  the  Baron  de 
Viomenil.  Our  squadron  consisted  of  eight  vessels 
only.  The  Couronne,  the  Triomphant  and  the  Sou- 
verain  received  orders  to  proceed  to  Toulon  and  were 
not  to  start  until  some  days  after  us.  M.  de  Medine 
commanded  the  Northumberland  and  the  other  ofhcers 
were  : 

Le  A^eneur,  lieutenant. 

Gombaut,  Yasselot  and  Chauvigny,  ensigns. 

Bossard,  lieutenant  of  a  frigate  and  auxiliary  officer. 

Mouton,  pilot  with  the  brevet  of  lieutenant  of  a  fri- 

Belfonds,  St.  Pair  and  de  Baunay,  officers  of  marines. 
We  had  very  nearly  the  same  officers  as  on  the  Triom- 
phant, with  the  addition  of  M.  de  Segur. 

On  the  2d  of  May,  we  were  still  only  ten  leagues 
from  the  Cape.  Calms  prevailed  which  delayed  us.  On 
the  morning  of  the  4th  we  were  in  the  latitude  of 
Cap-Aux-Sables,  one  of  the  Turks'  islands;  we  had 

Afterwards  William  IV. 


doubled  them  all  before  noon.  This  part  of  St.  Do- 
mingo is  encompassed  by  a  multitude  of  islands.  We 
were  uncomfortable  enough  on  board.  I  rented  the 
cabin  of  our  boatswain,  situated  on  the  poop  in  a  good 
air,  and  I  thus  had  a  corner  to  write  in,  to  retire  to 
and  to  be  alone,  which  is  very  agreeable.  Thus  I 
never  was  so  comfortable  on  board,  my  room  was  my 
happiness.  I  was  at  liberty  to  go  to  bed  when  I 
wished  to;  it  is  usually  early.  I  also  rose  at  day- 
break, then  I  went  to  walk  upon  the  deck,  where  there 
were  not  man}-  persons,  and  to  breathe  the  fresh  air. 
I  then  breakfasted  with  Caraccas  cocoa.  I  dressed 
myself  and  remained  in  my  room  until  ten  or  eleven 
o'clock ;  I  then  went  down  into  the  council-cabin, 
where  the  time  was  spent  in  conversing  until  dinner 
time.  I  ate,  with  eight  or  ten  persons,  at  M.  de  Vau- 
dreuil'b  table ;  we  lived  well.  After  dinner,  I  made 
up  ni}'  party,  I  returned  to  my  room,  I  conversed. 

On  the  9  th,  towards  night,  in  ordinary  weather,  we 
saw,  at  about  half  a  league  from  us,  a  water-spout,  or 
otherwise  a  column  of  water  which  rose  from  the  sea 
in  a  cloud  or  which  fell  into  it  out  of  a  cloud.  We 
distinctly  saw  the  column  of  water,  the  motion  of  the 
sea  and  of  the  water  to  the  point  of  connection  be- 
tween the  column  and  the  sea ;  this  column  appeared 
to  rise. 


On  the  14th  of  May,  we  were  in  sight  of  the  Ber- 
mudas. They  are  a  string  of  several  isLands  which 
may  be  about  ten  leagues  in  length  ;  they  belong  to 
the  English.  The  climate  there  is  mild,  and  these 
islands  are  reputed  to  be  healthy.  The  English  send 
their  sick  thither  to  recover  their  health  ;  there  is, 
however,  no  harbor  for  ships  of  war;  but  they  are 
an  asylum  for  merchantmen  and  a  place  of  resort  for 

After  this  period,  nothing  remarkable  occurred. 
On  the  16th  of  June,  we  perceived  that  the  color  of 
the  water  was  changing,  which  showed  that  we  were 
approaching  land,  although,  according  to  our  reckon- 
ing, we  ought  to  be  a  hundred  leagues  from  Brest. 
Between  two  and  three  o'clocl^  we  found  bottom  at 
eighty-five  fathoms.  It  was  supposed  that  we  were 
forty  leagues  from  Ouessant. 

On  the  17th,  at  eight  o'clock,  a  sailor,  who  was  in 
the  tops,  cried  out  "  Land  !"  but  it  was  the  allurement 
of  some  louis  which  M.  de  Viomenil  had  promised  to 
whomsoever  should  announce  it  first  that  made  him 
see  it ;  for  we  again  proceeded  for  more  than  three 
hours  without  discovering  anything.  At  last,  shortly 
after  noon,  M.  de  Medine  himself,  the  captain  of  the 
ship,  saw  a  breaker,  which  was  perceived  and  signaled 
at  the  same  time  by  some  other  vessels.  We  imme- 


diatel}^  ran  up.  This  breaker  is  known  by  the  name 
of  The  Saints  ;  it  is  situated  at  the  entrance  of  the 
harbor,  and  is  a  very  dangerous  rock.  We  were  a 
a  league  from  it  and  it  was  time  to  tack  about.  An 
hour  afterwards  we  saw  the  land  quite  distinctly.  At 
last,  at  three  o'clock  we  were  in  the  harbor  of  Brest. 
Boats  were  immediately  launched  in  the  sea  and  we 
repaired  to  land.  It  was  a  great  satisfaction  ;  but  the 
matters  of  business  to  which  I  was  obliged  to  attend, 
on  my  arrival,  and  wliich  were  already  occupying  me, 
prevented  my  feeling  this  joy  so  vividly. 

We  found  fires  in  almost  all  the  houses  and  Avarmed 
ourselves  with  pleasure.  I  was  obliged  to  remain  at 
Brest  until  the  2d  of  July,  1788.  I  bought  a  carriage 
and  horses  and  set  out  by  short  stages.  I  did  not  ar- 
rive at  Rennes  until  the  evening  of  the  6th  ;  I  spent 
a  day  there  and  was  at  Angers  on  the  9th  at  noon. 
My  brother,  whom  1  had  notified,  was  awaiting  me ;  I 
passed  through  the  city  without  stopping  and  pro- 
ceeded immediately  to  Echarbot.  I  found  my  wife 
and  children  on  the  road.  I  do  not  speak  of  the 
pleasure  which  I  felt  on  seeing  my  family  again,  after 
an  absence  of  more  than  three  years.  These  emotions, 
these  feelings  cannot  be  described. 


Acadians  at  Baltimore,  171. 
Adams,  Samuel,  181. 
Adolphe,  48. 
Alley,  110. 

Anderson,  Judge  William,  167. 
Andre,  Major,  68,  70,  128. 
Arbuthnot,  Admiral,  17,  24,  66. 
Arnold,  Benedict,  68,  70,  76,  90,  94, 
128,  130. 

Beaudoin  (Bowdoin),  49. 

Beaudoin,  Lieut.  Colonel,  76. 

Beauvais,  187. 

Belfonds,  198. 

Belzin,  188. 

Berthier,  193,  194. 

Bignore,  125. 

Blanchard,  51,  58,  174,  183. 

Bossard,  198. 

Bouleu,  194. 

Bouley,  59. 

Bourdais,  a  domestic,  9,  57. 

Bowen,  Dr.,  77. 

Bowker,  78. 

Brick,  180. 

Brizon,  S. 

Buffbn,  82. 

Buissey,  7. 

Byron,  Admiral,  12. 

Cabanis,  187. 

Caravagne,  59. 

Carter,  50. 

Carter,  Mrs.,  87. 

Champmartin,  185. 

Champtier,  7, 

Charette,  185. 

Chirfontaiue,  7. 

Clinton,  General,  68,  114. 

Closen,  Aide  de  Camp,  59. 

Coligny,  173. 

Collet,  Aide  Mareclial  General  des 

Logis,  59. 
Cooper,  Rev.  Dr.,  181. 
Cordier,  7. 
Cornwallis,  General,  9, 124, 136, 138, 

145,  148,  151,  152,  154. 
Cornwallis,  Commodore,  27. 
Corte,  42,  63,  83. 
Coste,  59. 
Coster,  114,  116. 
Coussard,  6. 
Custine,  60. 

Daltains,  185. 
Damblimon,  185. 
Daure,  144. 
D'Aboville,  58, 


D'Alpheran,  103. 

D'Auticliamp,  Count,  142. 

D'Artois,  Count,  175. 

D'Ogi-e,  59. 

De  Ban-as,  Count,  103,  139, 140, 144. 

De  Baunay,  198. 

De  Beville,  54,  58. 

De  Beville,  Jr. ,  59. 

De  Bouille,  Marquis,  156. 

De  Broglie,  Marshal,  150. 

De  Broglie,  Prince,  175. 

De  Bros,  Chevalier,  185. 

De  Capellis,  33,  47,  50,  51.  53,  186. 

De  Chabannes,  60. 

De  Charlus,  60. 

De  Chastellux,  Chevalier,  58, 60,  75, 

85,  88,  104,  123,  141,  144,  145, 

149,  152,  179,  181. 
De  Choisy,  68,  141,  149. 
De  Cluniard,  157. 
De  Coriolis,  Chevalier,  10,  43,  197. 
De  Corny,  39,  40,  41,  49,  58,  87. 
De  Custine,  Count,  7,  16,  76,  87,  89, 

92,  138,  139,  140,  158,  164,  166. 
De  Damas,  xVide  de  Camp,  59. 
De  Deux  Fonts,  Count,  60,  76,  154, 

De  Deux  Fonts,  the  younger,  150. 
De  Dillon,  Colonel,  60,  63,  146. 
D'Espinousse,  180,  182. 
D'Estaing,  11,  12,  77. 
De  Ferry,  Aide  de  Camp,  59. 
De  Gachain,  74. 
De  Gaston,  193. 
De  Glandeves,  193. 
De  Grasse,  Count,  103, 105, 107, 129, 

130,  136,  138, 139,  140,  143,  143, 

146,  152,  153,  154,  155,  157,  158. 

De  Grimat,  150. 

De  Grimaldi,  188. 

De  Guichen,  Admiral,  15,  17,  19,66, 
68,  158. 

De  James,  7. 

De  Jousecourt,  103. 

De  Kergu,  96. 

De  Lange,  188. 

De  Lameth,  Aide  Marcschal,  150. 

De  Laubardieres,  140. 

De  Lauzun,  2,  60,  75,  82,  106,  121, 
145,  146,  153,  170,  175. 

De  Laval,  Marquis,  60,  76,  87,  176. 

De  Luz,  Chevalier,  49. 

De  ]Manterrier,  Chevalier,  3. 

De  3Iarigny,  Chevalier,  3,  23,  25. 

Demars,  25,  42,  54,  55. 

De  Medine,  185,  198,  200. 

De  Menouville,  59. 

De  Montbarrey,  91. 

De  Nava,  190. 

Denis,  7. 

De  Noailles,  Viscount,  60,  63. 

De  Pange.  7,  60. 

De  Riom,  185. 

De  Rocliambcau,  Count,  1,  2,  36,44, 
45,  47,  49,  51,  53,  54,  55,  58,  59, 
61,  66,  69,  82,  83,  86,  104,  107, 
120,  121,  122,  123,  127,  141,  142, 
143,  144,  152,  153,  154,  155,  177, 
178,  179,  181,  186. 

De  Rochambeau,  Vicomte,  60,  74, 

De  Roquelaure,  193. 

De  Saint  James,  87,  91. 

De  Saint  Mesme,  Colonel,  60. 

De  Saint  Simon,  148. 

De  Sanson,  113. 


De  Sartine,  83. 

De  Segur,  Marquis,  91,  175. 

De  Segur,  Count,  193,  194,  195,  19(5, 

Deshayes,  7. 
Desson,  188. 
De  Steuben,  143,  174. 
Desouclies,  175. 
Destouches,  2,  93,  95,  99,  101. 
De  Suffein,  174. 
De  Tarle,  Chevalier,  1,  9,  30,  43,  54, 

58,  59,  70,  106,  107,  119. 
De  Ternay,  Adn.iral,  2",  5,  23,  26,  33, 

36,  39,  43,  45,  66,  77,  83,  99,  103. 
De  Theridan,  195. 
De  Tilly,  3. 
Detbis,  185. 

De  Vauban,  Aide  de  Camp,  59. 
De  Vaudreuil,   169,   176,  179,   ISO, 

185,  186,  187,  193,  198. 
De  Vaudreuil,  Jr.,  180. 
De  Veymeranges,  87. 
De  Vida,  188. 

De  Villemanzy,  25,  58,  143,  154. 
De  Viomenil,   Baron,  7,  16,  20,  21, 

26,  36,  39,  45,  54,  55,  58,  60,  66, 

84,  87,  93,  98,  138,  150,  153,  157, 

161,  175,  181,  183,  184,  197,  198, 

199,  200. 
De  Viomenil,  Count,  54,  58,  60. 
De  Volnais,  51. 
De  I'Aiguille,  188. 
De  la  Cheze,  81,  88,  130,  149,   151 

155,  192. 
De  la  Clochetterie,  3,  23,  98. 
De  TEtombe,  180. 
De  la  Fayette,   38,   39,  57,   60,  136, 

140,  141,  143,  150. 

De  la  Grandiere,  3,  7,  34,  105. 

De  la  Luzerne,  68,  09,  70,  130,  157, 

De  la  Motlie-Piquct,  127,  150. 
De  la  Panouse,  188. 
De  la  Pernuse,  3,  91. 
De  la  Touche,  39. 
Delevan,  177. 
De  la  Villebrune,  98,  144. 
Digby,  Admiral,  146. 
Dourville,  77. 
Drouillet,  144. 
Dabourg,  Cromot,  Aide   de  Camp, 

Du  Coudray,  137. 
Dumas,  59. 

Duparc  de  Bellegrade,  7,  11. 
Du  Petit-Thouars,  193. 
Du  Portail,  GO,  115. 

Earl,  Abigail,  43. 

Fanit,  7. 
Fleury,  61. 
Flint,  88. 
Franlilin,  49. 

Gau.  56,  58. 
Gaulcdet,  69,  107. 
Gautier,  7. 
Glandeves,  185. 
Goguet,  Marie,  133. 
Gombaut,  198. 
Greene,  General,  80,  110. 
Greene,  Mrs.,  80,81,87. 


Greeve  (Graves  ?)  Admiral,  4 


Loj-as,  7. 

Guzence,  7. 

Lyon,  48. 

Haake,  80. 

Macarthy,  7. 

Hancock,  49,  56,  181. 

Mandat,  188. 

Harris,  71,  73. 

Marassin,  7. 

Heth  (Heatli  ?)  General,  130. 

Menonville,  7. 

Holker,  70,  137. 

Mesme,  Viscount,  84. 

Hood,  Admiral,  157. 

Michel,  195. 
Mitton,  185. 

Jones,  Paul,  188. 

Montesquieu,  grandson  of  the  pre 

Josselin,  7. 

sident,  60. 

Jumencom-t,  88. 

Montcabier,  188. 
Morgan,  General,  89. 
Moucheron,  188. 

Kergu,  7. 

Mouton,  198. 

Knox,  General,  86. 

Nadal,  58. 

La  Barolien,  105. 

Necker,  125,  127,  128. 

Laforest,  92. 

Nupuy,  7. 

La  Jonquieres,  7. 

La  Mothe  Guillonais,  194. 

Laubanie,  7. 

Olonnc,  60. 

Lauberdiere,  59. 

Opterre,  59. 

Laurens,  son   of    the  president  of 

congress,  86,  87,  133. 

Pache,  185. 

Lazie,  58. 

Panat,  188. 

Lee,  57. 

Paoli,  117. 

Legritz,  7. 

Pearson,  General,  113. 

Le  Pont,  188. 

PisanQon,  88. 

Le  Veneur,  198. 

Prieur,  196. 

Lj^icb,  60. 

Lincoln,  General,  80,  121. 

Livet,  7. 

Rejientigni,  188. 

Lombard,  2. 

Robillard,  First  Surgeon,  59. 

Louis,  Captain,  an  Iroquois, 


Rodney,  Admiral,  17,  19,  66,  158 

Lourmel,  7. 

Romain,  69. 


Saint  Pair,  198. 
Schuyler,  General,  114. 
smart,  3. 
Smallwood,  75. 
Stirling,  Lord,  118,  133. 
Smoden,  Major,  168. 
Sufferu,  133. 

Tarleton,  146. 

Temple,  xVIrs.,  49. 

Trumbull,  Gov.  of  Connecticut,  110. 

Tucrenet,  59. 

Turpin,  59. 

Van  Gelder,  133. 

Varnum,  Gen.  of  militia,  55,  56. 

Vasselot,  198. 
Vcymcranges,  59. 
Vigo-Kouissilon,  131. 

Wadsworth,  109. 

Walsh,  Margaret,  164. 

Washington,  66,  67,  69,  76,  86,  89, 
90,  93,  104,  106,  107,  113,  115, 
116,  117,  118,  119,  130,  133,  137, 
138,  139,  133,  136,  148,  151,  153, 
154,  165,  166,  167,  173,  176. 

Washington,  Mrs.,  165,  166. 

Wa.shington,  the  mother  and  sis- 
ter of,  163. 

William,  prince  of  England  after- 
wards William  IV,  197. 









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